Wednesday, February 6, 2008

PPCO Celebrates National Condom Week, Feb. 11 - Feb. 17

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma will give away its one millionth condom during National Condom Week, February 11th – 17th. People can stop by their closest PPCO health centers during the week of Valentine’s Day to enter a “guess the number of condoms in the jar” contest and to pick up free condoms, information, candy, and “Just Wear It” bumper stickers. Health centers are located in Norman, Edmond, Midwest City, south Oklahoma City, and central Oklahoma City.

“Since 1978, the week of Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as National Condom Week,” says Terry Dennison, Director of Education for Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma. “It is a terrific opportunity to educate people about the importance of prevention and responsible condom use and to address anti-condom claims.”

The latex condom is among the most popular ways that sexually active people reduce the risks of unintended pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. But according to Dennison, the past few years have been filled with politically motivated attacks on the efficacy of condoms.

“Instead of providing accurate information about all people’s options in sexual decision-making, there is a conservative movement, both here and abroad, to push abstinence-only-until-marriage while marginalizing the important part that condoms play in prevention,” says Dennison. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, PPCO is hoping to address the distortion of information about condoms by joining other organizations nationwide to promote the use of latex condoms during National Condom Week.

“PPCO appreciates the fact that abstinence is a valid and practical choice,” says Dennison. “The reality, though, is that most people, married or not, will choose to have sex at some point in their lives. Condom awareness and the promotion of responsible choices and behaviors are also key parts of our continuing strategy of prevention.”

In addition to activities planned at the PPCO health centers, PPCO will join student organizations to distribute free latex condoms, information, and related items on area university and college campuses.

“We want people to feel that it’s okay to talk about condoms, and that condom use can be the norm rather than the exception,” says Dennison. “The more comfortable people become, the better equipped they will be to make safer decisions about their sexual health and behavior.”

For additional information on National Condom Week or other services of Planned Parenthood, call 405/528-0221. For an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood clinic, call 1-800-230-PLAN.

The National Condom Week campaign is made possible through the support of Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Friends Fighting AIDS (OFFAIDS) and private donations.

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