A recent study proposes a solution to increased rates of STIs by suggesting that free condoms should be targeted at those with a high risk of STIs. Due to this, it is suggested that condom distribution will hopefully promote safer sexual behaviours to help reduce STIs.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infectious diseases that are transferred from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. There are different forms of STIs, and between 2012 and 2015, there has been an increase of syphilis rates by 76% and gonorrhea rates by 53%. Moreover, in 2015 there were approximately 435 000 new diagnoses of STIs recorded in England, consisting of mostly heterosexual people under 25 and men who had sex with the same gender.
A novel article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests and strongly promotes a solution to reduce STI rates by providing those at a higher risk with free condoms. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that prevention and early detection is important to prevent STIs from occurring, and condoms need to be more accessible to people to encourage them to practice safe sex. Even though in England free condoms are provided in sexual health clinics, NICE recommended that easier access should be targeted to people who were most at risk and unaware of STI transmission, by making free condoms available at a range of locations such as, pharmacies, sexual health charities and universities.
NICE stated that other guidelines which need to be implemented include local schemes to educate young people on how to use condoms effectively and safely. These guidelines should be designed with a user’s agreement on how condoms will be used and with the assurance that condoms are available as freely and widely as possible. Only through this, safer sexual behaviours will be practiced and help to reduce the incidence rate of STIs, including HIV. However, local authorities and organizations need to create a successful health plan to provide for the needs of local populations.
Written By: Seema N. Goolie, BSc