Does love mean lose the latex?

JOBURG - Valentine's Day is around the corner and Marie Stopes SA suggests couples should put condoms to good use.

Sexual and reproductive healthcare provider Marie Stopes SA emphasises the importance of using condoms, even in long-term relationships.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to consider options and negotiate safely.

“Condom usage amongst South Africans of all ages is sadly on the decline, according to a household survey released in 2012 and published in 2013 led by the Human Sciences Research Council,” head of communications at Marie Stopes SA Palesa Khambi said.

“Being in a relationship isn’t a good enough reason to stop using condoms. Let’s be real: cheating happens, mistakes are made, [and] it’s not uncommon,” she added.

South Africa has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/Aids in the world, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as gonorrhoea, genital herpes, and syphilis are also common.

Many STIs show few symptoms in the beginning, and may even lie dormant for years.

Even the most considerate and faithful partner could be carrying an infection from a previous partner.

“The old advice that when you sleep with someone you’re ‘having sex with everyone they’ve ever had sex with’ might seem gross but it’s true.”

The case for condoms is even stronger when one considers that more than half of South African pregnancies are reported as unplanned and half of those as unwanted.

Rubber regulars may also reach a point where the decision to stop using condoms comes up.

“That’s a very significant step that should involve an open, honest talk between partners about monogamy and expectations.”

She recommends that the conversation should clearly identify what kind of relationship you have.

“If it’s exclusive now and you’re going to decide to forgo the condoms, you also need to make a commitment to your partner that if you slip up, you’ll disclose, get tested and go back to using condoms if you decide to stay together.”

Khambi advises that both partners should be tested for HIV and STIs and the female partner should decide on a contraceptive method that suits her lifestyle.


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