As STD Rates Rise, Pharmacists Play Important Role in Condom Education


Pharmacists can help eliminate certain barriers to condom use by understanding the range of products available.

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States in 2017, a number that surpassed the previous record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases and marked the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in these sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to preliminary data released this week by the CDC.

Researchers noted a 76% increase in the number of primary and secondary cases of syphilis, rising to 30,644 cases in 2017, up from 17,375 cases in 2013. They added that the majority of these cases, or 70%, occurred among those who are gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men. Over 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were diagnosed in 2017, according to the recent data; this disease remained the most common STD reported to the CDC. A little less than half of the reported cases, or 45%, were among females between the ages of 15 and 24.

A 67% overall increase in the number of gonorrhea diagnoses was reported, jumping to 555,608 cases from 333,004 cases, with the number of these diagnoses increasing twofold in men since 2013. However, the speedy increase in cases reported in women is dually concerning, according to the CDC, as numbers have been on the rise for the third consecutive year. The findings were reported this week at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington, DC.

In a recent poll on the Pharmacy Times instagram page, we asked followers if sexual health was something they would like to learn more about. Out of the 398 respondants, 87% said yes, they would be interested in learning more.

In this clip below, which was filmed at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo, (NACDS-TSE), Jeyan Heper, CEO of Lifestyles Healthcare explains how pharmacists can eliminate certain barriers to condom use by understanding the range of products available.


Jeyan Heper

Condom use is important. It prevents pregnancy, it prevents sexually transmitted diseases, and pharmacists have an important role in that part because they are the first moment of contact with the consumer. How can they do that? First, if they know the products, and they know the category well, and if they know what kind of differences we offer for our consumers. For example, in our range, we have Skyn, which offers higher sensation, and that limits many of the barriers that consumers have in their minds. They sometimes don't like to use condoms because they don't like to have the feeling of it, but Skyn prevents that. So if pharmacists pass that information, that with Skyn, you actually feel everything, that's a very important message to our consumers.

Jeyan HeperThe best way to help consumers navigate the sexual wellness shelf is through clear guidance. We have so many products on the shelf and they meet different needs. So first, it is important to understand what the consumer wants. Is it about the size? Is it about the pleasure? is it about the feel? If you know what they're after, it's going to be very easy to guide them. For more content from the NACDS Total Store Expo, visit our Conference Coverage web page. Click here to enter our NACDS Conference Challenge for a chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card.

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