LatinaLista — Mañana may be the internationally observed day of L-O-V-E, otherwise known as Valentine's Day but it's also the start of Condom Awareness Week.
The link between the two should be obvious â€” people in love usually want to formalize the relationship by having sex. Yet, when more than 60% of all new HIV infections occur in African Americans and Latinos, then it's imperative that condoms be used.
Sex is still a touchy subject with people. The act of sex that is. Someone acting sexy (just watch a music video) or dressing sexy (Brittany Spears?) doesn't phase anyone but when some people see a condom, well, they'd rather not.
Armani Exchange storefront sports giant heart made of red condoms as part of national campaign to raise awareness of sexually transmitted disease.
We have proof of this because a special campaign co-sponsored between the high-end clothier, Armani Exchange, and the National AIDS Fund has drawn not just second looks but "cease and desist" calls.
The campaign, â€œGive Love â€“ Get Loveâ€ was created to raise awareness about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. To grab people's attention, a giant heart made up of red condoms (still in the package) were placed in storefront windows of Armani Exchange stores.
The outcry the Valentine triggered has caused some stores to remove them from their storefronts.
The biggest complaint was what if children saw them. Well news that a 13-year-old boy has become a father in the United Kingdom underscores the fact that the sexually active are getting younger and younger every day.
While the condoms represent something nasty to those who would rather not address what is happening among our youth, the reality is that the condoms represent "safe sex" at a time when a new generation doesn't remember the fear the initials HIV used to cause people.
For many, Valentine's Day is associated with love, romance and sex, but not everyone practices safer sex. This is why the Latino Commission on Aids encourages everyone to get tested for HIV. It is important to promote that HIV testing should become a routine part of health screening.
If you are in a relationship or have started to date someone, there is no better way to show you care than by taking care of your health and that of your partner. HIV testing is free, there are no needles used and you can get your results within 20 minutes.
As part of National Condom Awareness Week, the Latino Commission on AIDS is providing a variety of free condoms or a free confidential HIV test. To find out more call 212-675-3288.