Spring has sprung; the magpies are singing, and the cats are whining, where does that leave us?
We’re not far off.
During the springtime, much of the animal kingdom shares a universal urge to get it on. And human beings are not immune. Scientists agree that our bodies recognize the longer days, warmer weather, (and shorter shorts).
“Sunlight … has an association with serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in the ability to experience pleasure,” says psychiatrist and instructor at Harvard Medical School, Ashwini Nadkarni, M.D.,
Springtime (or anytime) sex without self-love and self-care puts you and your partner or partners at risk. I don’t want to scare you with statistics—but according to UNAIDS, almost 37 million people in the world were living with HIV or AIDS in 2018.
Condoms can greatly reduce your risk of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The earliest known condoms date back to 17th century England. The English used animal membranes to try and prevent pregnancy. The first condom (as we know it) was invented in the 1800s by Charles Goodyear. By 1850, several companies were mass producing rubbers in the United States.
Today, protective barriers have evolved greatly into an ultra-thin, barely-there layer that acts as a barrier between two people during intercourse and sexual foreplay. Condoms can greatly reduce the risk of pregnancy, HIV transmission and sexually transmitted diseases that are transmitted through bodily fluids.
And regardless of how many times you may swipe right, condoms, when used properly, remain a safe, highly effective means of prevention for which other interventions, like pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, offer no preventive protection other than from HIV.
Condoms are also cheap and often readily available compared to other prevention tools and you don’t need a prescription for them.
And because condoms are both inexpensive and effective in their mission, groups like AIDS Healthcare and many other nonprofit organizations routinely offer condoms to the public for FREE!
Last year, AHF gave out over 66 million free condoms across the globe and provided and administered over 4.6 million free HIV tests worldwide.
Prevention methods like PrEP certainly have a place in the community, but one best determined and decided upon by an individual in consultation with his or her physician or medical provider.
But for cheap and easy (we mean the condoms—not you!) HIV and STD prevention delivered community-wide, AHF has been leading a ‘back to basics’ charge over the past few years, revisiting and reigniting an appreciation of and passion for the basics in prevention, testing, treatment and care.
And what could be more basic than the condom?
Millions of gay, bi- and MSM men (as well as their straight counterparts) successfully used and relied this workhorse prevention tool in the 1980s and ‘90s before the arrival of any lifesaving antiretroviral treatment on the scene. And millions more gay, bi-, MSM and straight men continue to use condoms for effective prevention today.
And in an innovative effort to keep the focus on condoms as effective, economic HIV and STD prevention, AHF created International Condom Day (ICD), observed each year on February 13th(creatively tied to Valentine’s Day—after Punxsutawney Phil checks his shadow on Groundhog Day yet before the first robins of spring start singing), a holiday that has now grown into a worldwide phenomenon.
Now, as part of International Condom Day, AHF produces a lighthearted and humorous parody song and music video each year promoting condom use and safer sex riffing on an entertainer or singer and their song of the moment.
In 2013, AHF’s first Condom Day song took shape as a parody of Macklemore’s wildly popular song ‘Thrift Shop’ playing off both AHF’s own award-winning ‘Out of Closet’ thrift shop chain and the fact that many of AHF’s thrift stores also offer free, easily accessible HIV testing.
This past year, AHF hit a new milestone—and over 850,000 YouTube views and counting!—with its 2018 International Condom Day song: a terrific send up of the Cardi-B anthem ‘I Like it (Like That).’ AHF’s ‘I Wrap it Like That’ delivers sensible safer sex messaging, including on condom use, in wickedly clever lyrics, music and video that even Cardi-B and the baddest of Bad Bunnies could learn from and enjoy. Okurr?
AHF has been around for 30+ years. We have over one million+ lives in our care today and operate in 43 countries, providing services including lifesaving medical care, antiretroviral treatment and advocacy regardless of ability to pay.
So, head on over to www.useacondom.com to learn how you can get free condoms. (Psssst, we have multiple sizes! But for those of you needing a larger size, the helpful 30-second AHF video ‘Will it Fit?’ offers a new, eye-opening perspective to s t r e t c h your imagination about the humble, helpful quietly heroic condom).
NOTE: to view the 3 AHF condom videos cited above, please visit www.aidshealth.org and scroll to the very bottom of the page to ‘Featured Videos.’