Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy National Condom Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to our beloved #StigmaWarriors!

Did you know that February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, but also National Condom Day as well??? It is a pretty perfect combo because what could be a better way to show someone you love them than by keeping safe and protected? [AND—as if that wasn’t cool enough—it gives you an opportunity to get creative and deviate from the cliché heart-shaped boxes of calories and overpriced flowers that will barely last the weekend! But I’m getting ahead of myself!]

To celebrate both National Condom Day and Valentine’s Day we’re going to discuss the many merits of condom use, but first let’s have a little fun with some possible ideas for your very own DIY cute and creative Valentine’s Day condom crafts!

1. For an easy one, why not make some DIY valentines with condoms? Simply write a loving message to someone on a condom with a sharpie! It’s that easy!

2. If you’re just in it for the candy, buy a chocolate box and fill it with condoms! After all, studies show that it takes an hour of sex to burn off one box of chocolate…

3. If you want something a bit more creative, why not a bouquet – with the flowers made out of condoms?! All you need is some rose-colored condoms (personally I like pink!), some wire, and tape, and there you have it! A lovely condom bouquet to give to your sweetie. 

4. If you don’t like flowers, and you really want to put yourself out there, you can make yourself a lovely condom dress out of expired condoms to wow your date! The condoms may be past their prime, but this style will last! (Though obviously don't use the expired condoms for intercourse!)

Look at all the potential for condoms on Valentine’s Day/National Condom Day! Though let’s put the, crafts and fun aside for a moment now, and discuss the important role condoms play in protecting you against a whole host of STDs, including HIV. Latex condoms are the best option, though if you or your partner has a latex allergy, you can use plastic condoms. It is important to remember to only use latex or plastic condoms, as natural condoms, such as sheepskin, are porous.

It is extremely important for you to have a discussion with your partner about condoms and protection, especially prior to sex, and in some cases to take initiative to purchase condoms on your own. If you’re nervous about having this discussion with your partner, have the discussion with yourself first– visit this site with some tips about conducting this conversation! 

Basic Facts about Condoms and Protection:
A Female Condom
  • When used properly, male condoms can protect you up to 98% of the time (and between 75-85% when used normally) [1]. In fact, condoms are so effective that they make sex 10,000x safer than if you don’t use one (Planned Parenthood) [2]! Only water-based lubes can be used with these condoms, as oil-based lubes or Vaseline can break down the condom (WebMD) [3].
  • Though not as much research has been done on female condoms, it has been proven that HIV cannot pass through these contraceptives (CDC) [4], and that any type of lube can be used without the condom breaking. Female condoms can also be inserted long before sex, so even if you and your partner decide to have sex at the spur of the moment, you can still be safe!

What does all this talk about condoms mean for those living with HIV and looking for love (or for those lucky ducks who have already found it!)? Well, it means you can do anything that those who are not living with HIV can do! Many people living with HIV believe their diagnosis will force them to be alone –we here at the SAN love busting myths, so want to shout from the rooftops that this is absolutely not true! HIV cannot travel through plastic or latex condoms which means that those living with HIV and their partners are able to to enjoy safe and worry-free sex! Whether you are a sero-discordant couple or a couple where both partners are living with HIV and are looking to protect each other from a different strain of the virus, you can still experience love as you have always wanted to. Not convinced yet? Check out these testimonials and dating sites for those living with HIV. And remember: your diagnosis shouldn't hold you back from finding and enjoying love! NO MATTER WHAT, you are still you and you ARE worth loving!

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy National Condom Day #StigmaWarriors! Please share this blog to show others that there is no shame about being HIV positive and that life doesn’t end with a diagnosis. On Valentine’s Day and every day, let’s all remember to bust myths, end stigma, love smart, love safe, and love love!


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