Some give the 'gift' of STDs on Valentine's Day

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Lisa Oldson, MD Feb. 04, 2011

With Valentine's Day approaching, several companies have unveiled new products or advertisement campaigns addressing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

A line of stuffed plush toys called GIANTmicrobes has lately released a new series called Venereals. As gag gifts, the fuzzy stuffed forms satirize the idea of "giving" a sexual partner an STD for Valentine's Day.

The line includes stuffed, cartoonish versions of chlamydia, herpes, syphilis and gonorrhea, though the last two are labeled "the Pox" and "the Clap."

In a similarly tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign, Trojan Condoms released a television commercial depicting a young couple exchanging Valentine's gifts. The unseen gift is gonorrhea, and one character comments that he is happier to have it than herpes, which, he adds, "you can't return."

Risky sexual behavior can increase the likelihood of STD transmission on any day of the year. Individuals who are concerned that they have contracted a sexual disease may consider looking into online testing services as soon as possible.

More than 19 million new STD cases are reported in the U.S. each year, half of them among Americans between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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