International Condom Day: Safer is sexy |22 February 2020
International Condom Day, created by Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is observed every year on February 13to raise awareness globally about the benefits of using condoms, including the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as unwanted pregnancies.
This year, the theme is ‘Safer is sexy’, bringing with it quite a novel and more playful reflection for the world’s population.
To learn more about the reason behind this year’s theme, we spoke to Tanja Allcorn, pharmacist, owner and founder of Panacea Healthcare (Seychelles). She also shares her views on the use of condoms in Seychelles and her advice to the local population.
Seychelles NATION: What are your thoughts about this year’s innovative theme?
Tanja Allcorn: This year’s theme is quite a clever one, to be honest. Condoms are often given a bad rap of being ‘mood killers’ but this year’s theme ‘Safer is sexy’ plants the idea that the use of a condom for safer sex can be practiced in a sexier way.
How? Use condoms that are a little more ‘fun’ than the run-of-the mill boring, purely utilitarian ones. Condoms come in so many different incarnations now, including latex-free ones for people who are allergic or sensitive to latex. You still have the option of ‘featherlite, thin feel and real feel’ condoms that are designed to make sex still feel ‘naked’.
There are also options such as coloured, flavoured, ribbed and dotted condoms that are designed to make their use more enjoyable, a little cheeky and a little less mundane. Durex, for example, has a range of ‘Intense’ condoms that come pre-lubricated with an ‘intense orgasm’ gel.
Condoms can be incorporated into the sexual experience in a playful way that takes the tedium that some people associate with using them out of the experience.
Seychelles NATION: What are your observations about the situation in Seychelles currently with regards to condom use?
Tanja Allcorn: I feel (and this is purely an observation with no particular statistics) that condom use in Seychelles is lower than would be ideal. I say this because when you look at the requirement for the morning after pill that is not related to condom failure (which, yes, does occur), it is obvious that many people still refuse to wear condoms.
It is frightening because the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is on the rise, with diseases like not only HIV, but gonorrhea, chlamydia and even syphilis showing significant resurgences worldwide.
Add to that the issues that we are having with antibiotic resistance and it is quite daunting. I wish that men would be more respectful of their partners, and themselves choose to wear a condom until they are in committed, long-term relationships. I also wish that women would be more self-assured in insisting that their partners wear condoms.
My advice to my patients is always to use condoms until they are committed and both partners have had HIV tests and an STI screening. There is a new wave of sexual liberation in this generation which truly makes the use of condoms essential. You CANNOT tell if someone has an STI simply by looking at them and this doesn’t even touch on unwanted pregnancies.
Condoms are, in fact, provided free of charge at Ministry of Health centres all over Seychelles so I am baffled by some people’s resistance to using them. That said, I also see many young men and women who do regularly come in and buy condoms. It’s good to see them ask questions and show interest in mixing it up a little, and enquiring about how to make their use more enjoyable for both partners!
Seychelles NATION: What information and / or advice would you like to share to our local population?
Tanja Allcorn: I think that we should all be doing a lot more to promote the use of condoms. They are not fail safe; the website ‘plannedparenthood.com’ states ‘If you use condoms perfectly every single time you have sex, they’re 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. But people aren’t perfect, so in real life condoms are about 85% effective’.
The correct use cannot be over-emphasised and is depicted in the accompanying graphic. It is also important to only use water-based lubricants with condoms, as oil-based products will damage the condom.
I feel that we, as a nation, are still very far behind when it comes to sex-education. I believe that we desperately need to talk about sex; let’s talk to our teenagers, let’s empower them with knowledge. Only then will they be able to make informed decisions.
I would greatly welcome any opportunity to talk to schools about sexual health. In Seychelles there is still this taboo surrounding sex. Not talking about it doesn’t make it go away, it just makes our youth (especially) more vulnerable.
For further information, contact Panacea Healthcare:
- Address: PO Box 4083, Anse Royale, Mahé
- Telephone: 2 753 771 (Mobile & WhatsApp) and 4 371 024 (Pharmacy)