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making safe sex cool again: HERO condoms partners with the australasian institute of sexual health and medicine

Image: Timothy Takemoto via Wikimedia Commons

Image: Timothy Takemoto via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that the past decade has seen rate of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) increase in Australia? Many recent studies outline the surprising numbers around the increase of HPV and HIV in young people, as well as an increase in STIs in people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, but it is difficult to know whether this data is the result of a rise in infection rates, more people being tested for STIs or a combination of both. Nevertheless, one thing can be certain here – in order to stay healthy we must practice safe sex and get tested for STIs often and early.

That’s where HERO Condoms and The Australasian Institute of Sexual Health and Medicine come in.

You probably know about HERO already – the company sells condoms here in Australia that are made in an environmentally friendly way and for every condom sold, one is donated to an AIDS organisation in Africa. They are committed to making sexual health and sexual freedom an everyday possibility both here and all over the world.

I had the chance to ask Gia Ravazzotti, of The Australasian Institute of Sexual Health and Medicine (AISHM), a few questions about the institute.

Gia told me that AISHM is a sexual health clinic located in Sydney that attends to many different aspects of sexual health. They have sexual health physicians, sex therapists, relationship counselors and psychologists on hand to help you if you are experiencing a sexual health problem ranging from HIV/STIs to low sexual desire. They are dedicated to promoting healthy sex lives for all Australians and are passionate about sexual health and wellbeing. Gia also stated that she loves ‘working at AISHM because we all have a common goal.’

AISHM has noticed the increase of STIs in the past 10 years.

‘Condom use [has] declined over the last 10 years or so and people don’t seem to be taking their sexual healthy as seriously as they did some years ago,’ Gia stated.

Everyone at AISHM ‘would like to see condom promotion come back into fashion and get people to take their sexual health as seriously as they do other aspects of their health.’

Gia found out about HERO through Alex Taylor’s blog on the AISHM website (Alex is a fellow HERO ambassador like myself) and also through HERO’s Facebook promotion for their Priceline campaign. She investigated what Hero does and felt strongly aligned with their mission.

‘I had never heard of a condom company with an altruistic motivation, which inspired me. Being South African, I feel strongly about sexual health in African and understand the desperate need for resources in Africa,’ she said.

The partnership between AISHM and HERO then will be twofold.

‘Besides promoting Hero on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, we are now developing resources for our website which aim to create a fun look at condom use within Australia and education on how to use condoms,’ Gia said.

‘AISHM hopes to have a role in Hero’s sex education component by creating and offering sexual health education resources for young people.’

Gia also hopes that this collaborative message about sexual health will ‘get into schools and offer comprehensive sex ed programmes which include relationship negotiation and sexual pleasure’ and she would also love to take Hero condoms into the community in South Africa, where she regularly visits.

Bridget Conway is a HERO Condoms Ambassador. Love the HERO and AISHM message? Then pass it on! It’s time to make safe sex a common occurrence in Australia!

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