Too Much Partying; Too Little Protection

Officials concerned about sexually transmitted diseases on New Year's Eve

It’s the biggest party of the year and its something about those special occasions that make health officials worry. The fear is that too much champagne will lead many people to forget to practice safe sex. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime parties and many partygoers want to make it memorable at the end of the night …in bed.

In Britain there’s a campaign by health officials underway called "Avoid Millennium bugs!" Health authorities have launched a safe sex campaign by handing out pamphlets. The papers warn people who are planning to wildly ring in the New Year to take proper precautions, including stocking up on condoms and other contraceptives.

A recent poll found that 1 in 10 British men believe meeting a sexual partner was the most important ingredient for a New Year party. The men surveyed were between the ages of 16 and 34. Six out of 10 said alcohol was top on their list this New Year’s Eve. With that combination, experts warn of a surge in sexual diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

In the United States, officials are equally concerned about that the year 2000 will get off to a bad start when it comes to safe sex, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not launched a specific campaign. Experts have long known of a dramatic increase in STDs and unintended pregnancies around the holiday season.

"You see a spike in particular behaviors on New Year’s," Dr. Pepper Schwartz told Fox News "it’s a perfect event for those people looking for any excuse to be uninhibited and selfish about what they want." Dr. Schwartz is a former president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

While the United States may not be preaching it in a specific campaign health officials do want to get the word out to practice safe sex this New Year’s Eve. Dr. Schwartz puts it this way "Why not think ahead of time about making this New Year’s one you might want to remember, as opposed to one you’d like to forget?"

Source: Fox News Online

DATE: 11/23/99

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