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COLUMBUS, OH — Throughout National Condom Week (February 14-21), Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio is encouraging people to talk with their partners about using condoms, and have safer sex to help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. Getting comfortable talking about safer sex and using condoms is one of the best ways people can take care of their health.

Using condoms correctly and consistently provides the best protection against sexually transmitted infections, which remain a major public health concern in this country. Every year, there are approximately 20 million new cases of STIs in the United States; half among young people ages 15-24. Many people who have an STI don’t know it, since most of the time people don’t show any symptoms. Ohio ranks 14th worst in the nation for STI infection rates.

Statement from Diego Espino, PPGOH Vice President of Community Engagement:

“As long as you use condoms every time you have sex, they are very good at preventing unintended pregnancy; they’re also the only type of birth control that also helps you and your partner stay healthy and protected from STIs. When it comes to HIV, using a condom correctly is 98% effective and makes sex many times safer than not using a condom.

It’s important to talk with your partner about using condoms before you have sex. Be direct and emphasize that condoms are essential to protect one another’s health — and that using them can even make your sex life better. “

As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works every day to help young people, families, and communities prevent STIs and unintended pregnancies, and help keep people safe and healthy. Last year, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio directly reached over 37,000 young people and families through their education and outreach programs.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio operates 19 health centers, and offers services including birth control counseling, sexuality education, vital cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment. PPGOH offers services regardless of a patient’s economic level, race, gender, sexual orientation, and/or immigration status.

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About Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. The mission of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio is to protect, promote and provide empowered health care for generations of women, men, and families across Ohio. PPGOH serves approximately 64,000 patients annually throughout Ohio including metropolitan areas in Toledo, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Mansfield, Cleveland, Columbus, and Athens. www.ppgoh.org