AS the world marks World AIDS Day next week (December 1, 2004), NHS Greater Glasgow is launching a new way for Glaswegians to access free condoms.
The C Card initiative - which has been successfully running in Lanarkshire and Lothian for a number of years now - is an extension of an existing scheme already running in Glasgow.
Previously, anyone wanting to obtain free condoms from the Health Service had to go along to a sexual health centre or Family Planning Clinic.
Now, they register and are given the wallet-sized 'C card' which allows them to obtain free condoms from a much wider range of venues. This includes traditional locations such as their local family planning clinic, health centres and other NHS sites as well as colleges and young person's health projects.
Like its predecessor, the scheme is open to all and is completely confidential - the only information stored by the registration centres is the first part of a person's postcode and their date of birth.
Nick Coia, Health Promotion Officer with NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "The idea of C Card is to make it easier for people to access the free condom service and help prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted disease.
"The scheme is completely confidential. However, as we are asking users to register, we can monitor who is using the service, their age and the area in which they live. Under 16s wanting to use the service will be interviewed by trained health professionals every time they present the card to ensure they are given advice and support to make the right choice for them about their sexual health."
As well as launching the C Card scheme, NHS Greater Glasgow is marking World AIDS Day by taking the safer sex message out to Glaswegians.
An HIV/AIDS prevention advert will be running on the Buchanan Galleries outdoor screen this week along with slots on Radio Clyde's Clyde Action. In addition, all NHS Greater Glasgow staff will receive a World AIDS Day message in their pay slips and a new information pack has been produced for health and other workers promoting safe sex.
Nicky added: "For World AIDS Day this year, we're focussing on prevention and all our literature will be reflecting that. We want to encourage Glaswegians to think about their sexual health and ensure they don't put themselves at risk of contracting HIV or another sexually transmitted infection. The main part of our message is to encourage sexually active individuals to practice safer sex, i.e. using a condom."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Between 1992 and 2001, there were on average between 25 and 40 new cases of HIV infection in Greater Glasgow. However, we've seen a significant increase in the number of new cases over the last three years.
Recent figures for new HIV cases......
2002 82 cases
2003 92 cases
2004 83 cases (figure for period Jan to Sept 2004)
Of the figures for Jan-Sept 2004, 25 are among men having sex with men, and 46 heterosexually acquired. Of the 46 heterosexual cases a significant number of them are among those who have probably acquired their infection from outside the UK. (note: data may not be available on the remaining cases).
New cases (men and women) of Sexually Transmitted Infection in Greater Glasgow per quarter:
* January to March 2004, there were 908 cases of Chlamydia, 59 of Gonorrhoea and 93 of Herpes Simplex 1 and 2;
* April to June 2004, there were 886 cases of Chlamydia, 80 of Gonorrhoea and 99 of Herpes Simplex 1 and 2.
New cases (men and women) of Sexually Transmitted Infection in Greater Glasgow per year:
* July 2002 - June 2003, there were 2586 cases of Chlamydia, 234 cases of Gonorrhoea and 207 cases of Herpes Simplex 1 and 2;
* July 2003 - June 2004, there were 3484 cases of Chlamydia, 285 of Gonorrhoea and 381 cases of Herpes Simplex 1 and 2.
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