February is National Condom Month, and what better way to express your love for someone than through safe sex?
When used correctly, condoms are proven to be 99 percent effective against STDs and unintended pregnancy. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s STD Control Program has two programs that make it easier than ever to get condoms and stay safe.
Take Control Philly was created in 2011 to address alarming rates of STDs among Philadelphia youth between the ages of 13-19. Do You, Philly! followed in 2016 as a program for young men who have sex with men (YMSM) between the ages of 13-29. Both programs provide free condoms and lubricant through the mail and together distribute over 750,000 free condoms each year.
Take Control Philly allows you to create a customized condom order by offering a choice of flared, ribbed, extra-large, non-latex lifestyle condoms and female/internal condoms. Do You, Philly! offers Trojan ENZ, Magnums, female/internal condoms and anal lube. Each condom mailing package includes 10 condoms, water-based lubricant, and directions on how to properly use a condom. Philadelphia residents who request condoms through the mail may do so up to two times a month. That’s 20 free condoms a month!
Take Control Philly also partners with other organizations in Philadelphia to help distribute condoms throughout the community, and works closely with high school nurses and counselors to keep their schools’ condom dispensers fully stocked.
Both programs encourage condom use through their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Posts about safe sex often include gifs and memes to engage their followers with information they can relate to. Regular topics include: the importance of getting tested, encouraging open communication with sexual partners, encouraging sex-positive dialogue, information on sexual health resources in the community, normalizing condom use, and of course, the importance of using condoms each and every time to prevent STD transmission.