Month: February 2009

Safer Sex Week ‘09 encourages couples to…. “Put It On Before Your Get It On”

With Valentine’s Day fastly approaching, Dr. Kevin Harvey, HIV/STI Senior Medical Officer of the National HIV/STI Prevention Programme (NHP) is encouraging sexually active Jamaicans to play it safe and use a condom every time.

According to Dr. Harvey, although couples are inclined to show extra affection during Valentines Week they may not be inclined to use a condom during this time.

In citing the 2008 HIV Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Behaviour Survey (KAPB), Dr. Harvey said the study indicates that 49% of the sexually active sample engaged in behaviour which could increase their risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Such behaviours include having more than one sex partner, engaging in transactional sex and lack of condom use. This is compounded by the belief that, condoms are seen as unnecessary in committed relationships.

In his appeal to couples, Dr. Harvey stressed that “condoms are important for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease that neither partner may know they are carrying.”

He said that by using a condom couples are making an important move that could save their lives.

Continuing Dr. Harvey said that the National Programme was grateful for the annual educational opportunity afforded by the season. He said Valentine’s Week always provides an excellent prospect for increasing HIV and other STI prevention messages. He said it was this awareness that led the National Programme to introduce Safer Sex Week in 1995 and strategically position same to encompass Valentines Day.

In continuing his appeal, Dr. Harvey encourages long-standing and new partners alike to put it on before they get it on.

The National Activity for Safer Sex Week 2009 will take the form of an interactive and informative exposition and free HIV testing at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre on Friday, February 13 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. under the theme, put it on before you get it on.

In Jamaica, HIV is transmitted mostly through sexual intercourse. Since 1982 to 2007, 69% of AIDS cases were transmitted through sexual intercourse, 24% were undetermined while 7% were mother-to-child transmission. There are currently 27, 000 persons estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of this amount, an estimated 18, 000 are unaware that they are living with HIV.