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Promoting "Partners in Protection" for Valentine's Day

Published: 02.09.09| Updated: 02.09.09

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies remain major public health challenges in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 19 million new STIs occur each year — almost half of them among young people age 15–24; and a recent CDC study found one in four teen girls in the U.S. has an STI. The CDC also reports that approximately one-half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.

Condoms are effective at reducing the risk for STIs, according to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruling. As a method of birth control, condoms have a 98 percent effective rate with perfect use (85 percent with typical use), according to the Journal Contraceptive Technology.

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) is recognizing February National Condom Month with a “Partner in Protection” free condom promotion. The PPWNM Cherry Street Center in Grand Rapids is offering free condoms with a special
Valentine message for women and men. The campaign urges couples to share responsibility in preventing sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.

“Condoms are a great choice for couples who want to practice safer sex,” said Bridget White, PPWNM vice president of medical services. “Planned Parenthood encourages both partners to take responsibility when it comes to preventing STIs and unintended
pregnancies.”

The Valentines offer tips on being a “Partner in Protection”, whether using condoms or other safe and effective methods of birth control:
• Educate yourself on various methods
• Talk to your partner about which method is best for you both
• Share the cost of birth control
• Provide transportation to obtain protection
• Remind your partner to use protection
• Practice safer sex EVERY time

As a public service, PPWNM offers three free condoms per person per day, available on a walk-in basis during regular business hours.

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Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan provides reproductive health care and education services to men, women, and children while advocating for reproductive choice for all. PPWNM covers a 52-county region of Michigan with health centers in seven cities. Learn more about the organization and its services at www.ppwnm.org.

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