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STIs and HEX™: Some Home Truths―and Steps for Change

A well-cut suit, classic red lipstick, trench coats – some things never go out fashion. For other stuff – think flares, shoulder pads and hypercolor t-shirts – consensus doesn’t take long: what the hell were we thinking?! Unfortunately, the analogy doesn’t hold true for STIs: positively perennial, always regrettable – yet largely avoidable. For LELO HEX™, enough is enough. Time to shake things up.

STIs and HEX™

STIs are nothing new. Nor are condoms, for that matter. And yet, as STI rates go up, condom usage is at an all-time low. We have the means to prevent them, we’re cognizant of the risks, but at the same time, we’ve not just facilitated the survival of age-old nasties such as syphilis, chlamydia and the like, we’ve even created new ones. News of an antibiotic-resistant strain of so-called ‘super gonorrhea’ is frightening not just because of its unstoppabability, but also the recklessness of its origins.

To be clear, we’re not talking Third World here. This has nothing to do with where you grew up, your profession, gender, or sexuality. STIs don’t discriminate. In the US, reported cases of chlamydia rose 2.8% between 2013 and 2015, while syphilis shot up 5.1% in the same period. What with the recent discovery that Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually, the message surrounding condom usage has never been more pressing.

We’re at a crossroads: everyone knows STIs are bad news, that we urgently need to stop their spread, and that condoms are our best means of defense. Our response? Either to not talk about them, cloak them in taboo, or joke about them. For LELO HEX™, this is no laughing matter. Silence, shame and flippancy don’t help; what’s needed is a total overhaul of how we think about protection. We maintain that the condom industry has a responsibility and more important, an opportunity to spark precisely this change.

Since the introduction of a reservoir tip and lube, condoms haven’t undergone any significant change in almost 70 years. And why would they? For the most part, they do their job just… fine. After all, in a market dominated by just a handful of key players, where’s the incentive to innovate, to make something better, to excel? LELO has never been one to tolerate mediocrity – and nor should you. In the seven years we’ve been developing HEX™, we’ve sought out the most common issues people have with condoms: they slip, they break, and according to some, they reduce sensation. Availability isn’t the issue, appeal is: people don’t like using condoms.

Now, that’s not a reason to abstain from using them altogether. Rather, it’s impetus to change, to challenge, and to innovate. HEX™ is a condom to change everything: not only is it structurally different to combine thinness with strength, to better flex and mold to unique shapes, and offer better traction, it is also an invitation to the industry’s usual suspects to up their game.

Together, we can stamp out STIs once and for all. Because really, isn’t it time?

About Donna Turner

Donna is a Volonté contributor and freelance writer who lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in Psychology Today, Go! Magazine (Australia) and is regularly featured in the San Francisco Herald.

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