As Saint Lucia carnival wraps up, United and Strong Inc (U&S) supplied several boxes of condoms to help ensure revellers also ‘wrap-up’ and protect themselves.
Emancipation weekend has become the new last lap for Saint Lucia carnival, extending events beyond the main jump-up in Castries city. Two communities, Anse La Raye and Gros Islet, staged carnival activities after the official carnival Monday and Tuesday.
“Carnival babies” is a common phrase, unofficially corroborating the widely accepted assertion that risky sexual behaviour increases during this festival of release. Condoms have been shown to effectively reduce the probability of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and have the Ministry of Health has endorsed the use of these prophylactics, particularly promoting their use during the carnival season.
U&S hopes there will be fewer carnival babies or carnival diseases as a result of making condoms more easily available but stresses that condoms are more effective when used properly. The influence of drink and drugs on the road can reduce the effectiveness of condoms. Given the added risk, the organisation further advises those who have sex during carnival, particularly under the influence, to get tested as soon as possible after carnival for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Distribution of condoms and other commodities, education materials and counselling, are among the services provided free of charge to the Saint Lucian community by United and Strong.