Health: Condoms: A Healthy Attitude towards Sex; Education Is the Only Way to Win the Battle with Aids
Beattie, Jilly, Sunday Mirror (London, England)
W E ARE continually told by the health experts about the necessity of using condoms to prevent HIV - but what is the reality? Can you get them - and can you use them? At a recent conference on Aids in Dublin Castle the message was clear. There is only one way to educate youngsters about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases: condoms - condoms - condoms.
Dr Mary Horgan, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Cork University Hospital, stressed the message that condoms have to be freely available and accessible.
But she said that young people and others at risk of picking up sexual diseases need practical instruction in using condoms.
Today many teenagers are waking up to the fact that using condoms is the only real way to be sure of avoiding STDs. But unless the basic education is given, they will often be unaware of the risks involved in not using protection.
Being a medical expert is one thing - putting theory into practice is not always as easy, as every parent will tell their child.
Teenagers who are using contraceptives such as condoms for the first time are often unaware of the basic techniques for using them and develop a bad attitude to them at an early stage.
Schools only tend to go a short way towards explaining how to use condoms and what they are for.
In Ireland the problem of buying condoms is still huge. Research shows that only half of Arklow's chemists stock condoms and some managers even say they would not sell them in the future.
In Limerick, Mairead Lyons of the National Drug Task Force had asked about the sale of condoms in a chemist shop but received a similar reaction: "I felt terrible so I can't imagine how a teenage girl would feel being treated like that - probably terrified that word would get back to her mother," she said."
IN Cork and Galway most pubs and clubs stock condoms in the toilets, although again very few chemists in the area have followed the lead.
When youngsters finally get hold of the condoms they face another problem - how to use them.
Mairead Lyons says that many are still unsure of how to use a condom, even after they have gone to the bother of purchasing them. …