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“Checking in” before you begin

A friend once asked me, “why should I wear a condom when I sleep with a girl? Sex sucks when you wear a rubber.”  My response was, “it would suck even more if you got a girl you barely know pregnant or caught an STD.” After my response, my buddy just laughed  it off and changed the subject. I doubt my  conversation with him was encouraging, but hopefully one day he realizes the risk he is taking when he doesn’t wear a condom when he has sex.

Condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, and although more than half of us will catch an STD at some point in our lives, condoms reduce the risk. A planned parenthood in the great Northwest has created a safe-sex campaign that allows people to scan a bar-coded condom with their smartphones. Once one of the 55,000 condoms distributed to college campuses around the northwest is scanned, a dot signifying your location will be put on a map. The searchable map will allow people to see the number of partners in their community practicing safe sex.

The idea of having partners scan a condom rapper is a unique way to encourage safe sex. The campaign is unlike any other safe sex education I’ve ever heard of.  It’s fun, interactive and simple. The safe-sex campaign has the potential to be effective because 44 percent of Americans now own smartphones, and have the ability to scan in before or after sex.The percentage of college students who use smartphones is probably even higher.

The one problem that the campaign will face is the fact that college students are stubborn. If a college student has developed a habit of not using a condom when he has sex, influencing him to start using one will be difficult. Sex is more enjoyable without a condom. Therefore, some people will take the risk of having sex without one. “The feeling experienced during intercourse is altered — and not for the better — by the condom. The physical sensation is simply not the same,” said Jazz Shaw, the assistant editor for the news blog Themoderatevoice.com. To get non condom users to wear a condom, you will have to make sex with a condom feel the same way it does without a condom, and that’s a difficult task to do.

Planned Parenthood may not be able to change the way sex feels with a condom, but my hope is that the campaign at least creates awareness amongst college students in the great Northwest. The campaign won’t influence everyone, but even if it only influences a small number of people that’s great!

About Alejandro

My hometown is the great city of Portland, Oregon. I currently reside in Eugene and attend the University of Oregon. I am in my senior year of college majoring in Public Relations. In addition to being a student, I work for Ethos Magazine, a student-run publication. I 'm also a communications intern for the University of Oregon School of Law. I am a sports fanatic who loves the Portland Trail and Oregon Ducks. In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, attending sporting events, and spending time with friends and family. I can read, watch, and talk about sports all day every day. PR and Sports, it's what I love!


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