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ss triple helix - winter 2003,  The sex lottery - More condomania

The sex lottery - More condomania

'Don't play the sex lottery. Use a condom' is the slogan driving the government's new £4 million 'safe sex' campaign to try to curb the rising trend of sexually transmitted diseases, up 61% in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1991. The website's brave claim that 'only condoms provide 'all-in-one' protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections' swamps the smaller print several mouse clicks removed which only weakly advises that condoms do not protect adequately against three of the most common STIs: Herpes, HPV and Chlamydia.

Web surfers are advised to 'play the lottery' to see if they might have certain diseases by 'scratching' over photographs, and a 'hide this site' button is provided, presumably to enable a quick cyber-exit if mum or dad should make a surprise appearance.

With failure rates for condom users running at one in seven per year (see Triple Helix 2002; Summer:10-11), those who follow the government's advice on avoiding STIs may find themselves playing not the lottery, but Russian roulette.

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