Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Health departments hand out condom red envelopes

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

With Valentine’s Day and the start of the Lunar New Year holidays taking place this week, local health departments and hospitals are offering free condoms to promote safe sex.

The six-day Lunar New Year holiday begins on Thursday, the last day of the Year of the Rooster, giving way to the Year of the Dog.

Taipei City Hospital’s Kunming Prevention and Control Center has designed limited-edition red envelopes inscribed with Chinese characters to mark the Year of the Dog.

Inside the envelopes are condoms in red sachets inscribed with greetings such as “go in and out safely” in golden calligraphy.

Another design features an extra-large condom in a smaller envelope with a dog printed on it.

With Valentine’s Day being just one day before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, the center’s Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and HIV/AIDS division said it expects increased sexual activity and is distributing the red envelopes and condoms for free.

Distribution points include the center’s fifth floor disease screening point and its outreach areas, including the Men’s Talk counseling center, Aniki World of Wonder Gym, Hans Men’s Sauna, the Red House, XL CLUB, Imperial Palace Sauna and Soi 13 in Sauna.

Wei Sun-chen (魏孫震), a section head at the STD and HIV/AIDS division, said that between 1984 and last year, Taipei had a total of 5,468 people with HIV/AIDS.

Men outnumbered women 30 to one, with Taiwanese accounting for 96.74 percent of the total, Wei said.

An analysis of the cases reported last year showed that 93.9 percent had engaged in unsafe sex between men and 5.6 percent had unsafe sex with the opposite sex.

More heterosexual couples are now willing to receive anonymous HIV/AIDS screening, but most people are still ill-informed about STDs and HIV/AIDS, Wei said.

People who engage in sex should use condoms and water-based lubes throughout the process to protect themselves and their partners from STDs, Wei said.

The Taichung Bureau of Health is also cooperating with several shops to promote proper use of condoms by urging the public to remember five steps: rip (open the sachet carefully), pinch (the tip of the condom and make sure no air is trapped inside), place (the condom on the tip of the penis and unroll it down), remove (after ejaculation) and throw it away (cannot be reused).

Among a total of 322 HIV infection cases reported in the city last year, 89.8 percent had engaged in unsafe sex, the bureau said.

As unsafe sex is still the main cause of STDs, people should use condoms properly and avoid sharing needles and other injection equipment, it said.

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