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Commentary & Opinion

Canada: Condom Campaign Spreads the Word on Sexual Diseases

January 9, 2007

"'What a unique way to get attention,' I thought, as I opened the morning's mail. What usually arrives on my desk is a host of medical reports. So I was surprised when two condoms fell out of one envelope. I wondered what was expected of me at 10 a.m ...

"Eventually I discovered that Toronto Public Health had initiated a communication campaign for doctors, to alert young people to the dangers of sexually transmitted infections, particularly chlamydia. To learn more about the whole campaign, visit

"The package also contained informative posters about [STIs] for examining rooms and an offer to doctors of a free supply of condoms for patients. It was hoped this would send a positive signal to young patients that doctors are willing to discuss sexual topics ... "The statistics are shocking. For instance, in Canada, gonorrhea infects just 28 per 100,000 people and AIDS, one in 100,000 women. Chlamydia strikes one in five women aged 15-25 ...

"It's a terrible price to pay for unprotected sex. Especially when chlamydia can be treated and cured by a course of antibiotics ... But it will take this campaign and more to convince women and men that unsafe sex is dangerous and that condoms are the first line of defense ...

"Consider that a recent Canadian study revealed that 50 percent of teenagers were involved in sex, and many are not using condoms. And that 16 percent of university students were having anal sex. That's like playing with dynamite, as it's a dangerous route for transmission of [HIV] and other [STIs].

"I've given one of my free condoms to a teenage patient who told me she was using the pill now that she's in 'a relationship.' I reminded her that this was the fourth time in the last year she's had a relationship. And that she was playing Russian roulette with sex ... Needless to say, I've ordered more condoms to share among my patients."

The author, Gifford-Jones, is the pen name of Toronto's weekly columnist Dr. Ken Walker.

Back to other news for January 9, 2007

Adapted from:
The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario)
1.05.2007; Dr. Gifford-Jones

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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