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condomsense

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The condom. For generations, the ubiquitous prophylactic was rarely seen, seldom discussed and surreptitiously purchased from the corner drug store in hope that Aunt Henrietta wasn’t over in aisle four checking out the support hose. In 1995, the condom has come out of the closet (wallet) and is leading the charge in a fight against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. After taking condoms to the front lines in local bars and handing them out under the Condomania Campaign, Whistler is going to see the first made in Whistler condom campaign this winter as local public heath nurse Sue Clarkson grabs the bull by the horns and charges out the gate with CondomSense. The $4,600 campaign will kick off Nov. 30 and will run through until Dec. 6 as volunteers take to the streets in search of folks who need condoms and have a little time to be reminded why they must be used. "People know they are supposed to wear a condom, some people just need a friendly reminder," Clarkson says, adding volunteers will be focusing on getting into staff housing to discuss safer sex, AIDS and STD’s. Previously, much of the emphasis was put on prevention as legions of volunteers descended on Whistler’s bars and clubs, condoms in hand, to pass out rubbers and advice. According to Clarkson, volunteers were often overwhelmed by a rush of frantic rubber seekers who wanted free condoms without the safe sex talk. "If we are meeting people in a non-bar setting it gives the volunteers a chance to pass out the condoms and to have a little discussion… that just wasn’t happening in the bar setting." The CondomSense funding is supplied by the provincial STD Control Program and the Hospital and Community Partnership Program. The campaign is also associated with Whistler’s Sexual Awareness for Everyone clinic. Whistler’s young, transient population is just starting to tap into the wealth of information at the SAFE clinic, located on the second floor of the Whistler Health Care Centre. Clarkson says CondomSense volunteers are going to show up at Whistler Spirit Day Nov. 21 to informally kick off the campaign. In order to get the message out, CondomSense volunteers are being sought. Volunteers can expect to spend two or three evenings in local bars and at staff housing distributing safer sex kits and talking condom usage. A volunteer training meeting is being held Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the Health Unit office in the Whistler Health Care Centre from 7 to 9 p.m. Interested volunteers can call 932-3202 for more information.

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