If you aren’t already aware, April is STD Awareness month. In that light, 303 caught up with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) spokeswoman Monica McCafferty and asked her some important questions about STD prevention, awareness and detection, as well as some other things we were just curious about.
303: What condom brand do you recommend most to people?
MM: Planned Parenthood is proud of our own condom line, PROPER ATTIRE®, specifically designed to encourage women to feel more comfortable about carrying and buying condoms. Women comprise only 30 percent of the condom purchasing market. Our PROPER ATTIRE® line allows women to combine their fashion sense with their commitment to be safe and healthy. But, what we’ve found is that, anyone and everyone with a fashion sense are drawn to the many PROPER® collections–a must-have and always-carry! In fact, they are so popular, they’ve shown up at New York’s Fashion Week, and leading industry designers like Alexander Wang have offered limited edition (condom) designs.
PROPER ATTIRE® condoms can be found at Planned Parenthood health centers, boutique and exclusive hotels and online at ProperAttireCondoms.com.
303: Which STDs show no symptoms for men/for women?
MM: Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States, and often, there are no symptoms in men and women who have it. Both rates and consequences are far more severe among women than men. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to infertility. There are also other STDs that do not show symptoms as well, which is why sexual awareness and responsibility is important today.
303: What common myths do people still believe about safe sex that are untrue?
MM: Condoms used consistently and correctly provide the best protection against STDs for people who are sexually active. Yet there generally exists the imsconception that condoms protect you from everything. Sometimes STDs can pass through skin-to-skin contact. This is why testing is so important for people who are sexually active. If you have never asked to get tested for STDs or have never had this conversation with your health care provider, you cannot assume you have been tested, as it is typically not a part of a routine exam.
303: Is the new health care reform going to change anything for PPRM?
MM: From the beginning, Planned Parenthood took the lead in urging Congress to expand access to preventive reproductive health care. Without a doubt, health care reform will do that. For example, millions of women will be able to get free or low-cost preventive screenings for cancer, women will be able to pay for reproductive health care at their local community centers, including Planned Parenthood health centers, and insurers will be prohibited from charging women more than they charge men for comprehensive private health insurance plans.
Currently, the majority of our clients pay for services out-of-pocket. Under health care reform, we hope the women and men who visit us will have insurance to help cover the costs of health care.
Get Yourself Tested (GYT) ! Planned Parenthood offers super-affordable STD testing twice this month, April 23rd and April 27th. For $10, test for chlamydia and gonorrhea (urine test) and $10 for HIV (finger prick).Â Visit Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains‘ website for locations and hours. Appointments are encouraged.