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MICHIGAN – It’s Valentine’s week and love is in the air! Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI) reminds love birds everywhere that CONDOMS are the one form of birth control that can prevent against unintended pregnancy and also help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – but only if used properly, and that includes using a condom EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

It’s no coincidence that National Condom Week starts on Valentine’s Day each year.

PPMI recognizes National Condom Week, February 14-21, and National Condom Month in February, with events across Michigan that focus on condom use. This year, actions include handing out free condom roses at Muskegon Community College on Valentine’s Day, an information table and condom roses sale at the University of Michigan on Valentine’s Day, a Condom Carnival at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey on February 15, and a free condom give-away on the evening of February 17, during the U.P. 200 sled dog race in Marquette.

Every year in the U.S., there are 19 million newly diagnosed sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with young people ages 15-24 accounting for almost half of them.

“This Valentine’s Day, let your partner know that you want to use condoms every time you have sex — so you can both stay healthy and safe,” said Staci Rickman, PPMI regional director of education. “Even if you haven’t used them in the past, it’s never too late to start protecting yourself.”

Rickman offers the following tips for talking to your partner about condom use:

If your partner says:

You can say:

It doesn’t feel as good with a condom.

I’ll feel more relaxed which will be better for both of us.

We’ve never used a condom before.

I don’t want to take any more chances.

Condoms never fit right.

Let’s try different brands/kinds.

Don’t you trust me?

People can carry STIs without knowing it.

I’ll pull out.

Pre-ejaculate can carry STIs and enough sperm to cause pregnancy.

Putting it on interrupts everything.

Not if I help.

But I love you!

Then you’ll help me protect myself.

I guess you don’t really love me!

I’m not going to “prove my love” by risking my health or a pregnancy.

I’m not using one, no way.

Then we are not having sex.

“There are a lot of different kinds of condoms out there, so you might use Valentine’s Day as a special reason to talk about the different ones available. Find what you like and start a new habit of using condoms every time,” added Rickman.

Planned Parenthood is here to help make conversations about condom use easier. You can always talk to your Planned Parenthood clinician about condoms and avoiding STIs and unintended pregnancy at your appointment. There are endless resources online to help navigate the intricacies of proper condom use, such as what types of condoms there are – including internal condoms – how to properly use a condom, and how effective they are. Start your search with a reliable source at www.ppmi.org/condom.

PPMI health centers always supply three free condoms per day to anyone who walks in and asks. Or, text the word CONDOMS to 51555 for a coupon to receive 10 free condoms at any PPMI health center.