THIS Valentine's Day give someone roses, not an STD.

That's the message Health Assess co-ordinator and nurse Nicole Armitage wants to send people in Mackay.

Today is not only Valentine's Day but National Condom Day.

"People aren't fully aware of the potential effects it (STDs) can have to your health like brain damage, heart damage, reproductive problems for men and women - it can actually cause infertility and a lot of them are silent STDs so you're not even aware that you've got them," Ms Armitage said.

But not all are silent.

"In ancient history the term herpes means creepy crawly - you should know whether you've got herpes, so don't go spreading that around," she said.

Ms Armitage said sex was enjoyed by two people, whether male or female, and it was every person's responsibility to carry and purchase condoms.

With STDs on the rise in Mackay it was more important than ever to wear protection.

Last year there were 2579 cases of chlamydia and 590 cases of gonorrhoea in the Townsville Public Health District; this included Mackay.

Ms Armitage said people make up a lot of excuses for not using condoms but none of them were worth catching an STD over.

"To be honest sex does feel better without one but if you get one of those diseases, what would you rather a condom or an STD?" she said.

"You don't know what that person is housing in their pants."

Ms Armitage said it was incumbent upon parents to talk about STDs with their children and not to rely on it being taught at school.

"It needs to be taught that it is natural and it's to be respected," she said.

"(Some parents) don't want to know their child is having sex - make it okay that they're having sex but wear a condom."


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