In an effort to reduce the number of people who get sexually transmitted diseases, the Racine Health Department is kicking off an awareness campaign called “Take Control: Your Body, Your Health,” which includes handing out free condoms in bars and barber shops.
Racine County ranks fifth in the state for the number of people that have chlamydia, and it ranks fourth highest in the state for gonorrhea. In the city, one out of 100 residents contracted an STD in 2014. Young adults ages 21 to 29 years-old consistently ranked high in having STDs.
“Stopping the spread of STDs is our number one priority,” said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, public health administrator for the City of Racine Health Department. “Getting people tested and treated before passing a disease on to a partner is a proven approach to reducing the burden of STDs and keeping our community healthy.”
The goal of the campaign is to increase the use of the Racine Health Department STD clinic by 10 percent, and to prevent and stop the spread of STDs, according to a press release by the Racine Health Department.
“It is imperative for all residents to make their health a top priority,” said Racine Mayor John Dickert. “This campaign emphasizes the personal responsibility we all have to preserve the well-being of our community.”
People who have STDs have a greater chance of having complications during and after pregnancy, have an increased risk of HIV, and a higher likelihood of having other health problems including cervical cancer and infertility. Because STDs are preventable with the use of condoms, the program includes:
- Advertising on city buses
- Movie theater advertising
- Providing bowls of free condoms at local barber shops
- Condom dispenses installed in bathrooms at two local bars
- Information on the city of Racine website
Pepi’s Pub and Grill, 618 6th St., is one of the bars that will install condom dispensers in the men’s and women’s bathrooms in August.
“We are pleased to be part of this campaign to give our customers the opportunity to make health choices,” said Joe Madison, owner of Pepi’s Pub and Grill.
More establishments are expected to offer free condoms and free bowls of condoms are also expected to be distributed to barber shops, and other businesses and agencies in Racine.
The Racine Health Department STD clinic offers testing and treatment for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. The clinic is open from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and is located at City Hall, 730 Washington Avenue on the lower level in room 4. Appointments can be made by calling (262) 636-9431. Walk-in clients are also welcome.