Seek out information on 'safer sex'

April 20, 1993|By New York Times Syndication

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome has permanently changed the way people think about sex. Therefore, regardless of the contraceptive method a person prefers, anyone not in a mutually monogamous relationship should exercise extreme caution -- not only in choosing partners but during sex itself.

Latex condoms offer good protection against sexually transmitted diseases. "But condoms reduce -- rather than negate -- the risks," says Dr. Charles Hammond, the head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

"I prefer the term 'safer sex,' instead of 'safe sex.' "

Dr. Ronald Chez, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, points to the rising rates of herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

He advises those not involved in a mutually monogamous relationship to have a frank discussion with their physician about protective birth control because STDs can imperil fertility and lead to health complications.

For more information about "safer sex" call the following organizations:

* The National AIDS Hotline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 342-AIDS.

* The National Herpes Hotline, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, Monday to Friday at (919) 361-8488.

* The National STD Hotline, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, Monday to Friday at (800) 227-8922.

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