(Memphis) Twenty million people across the U.S May be getting an STD every year and in Shelby County we have double the national average of people infected.
The county is hoping to fight the spread of STD’s with a simple tool.
Health advocates have decided to give free condoms away for at least the next year.
They are calling it Free Condom Memphis.
More than 30 local businesses, clinics, even churches will be leaving out the latex hoping that people who need them, will use them.
“I am a pastor and I think it`s important,” said Paul Eknes-Tucher, pastor of Holy Trinity Community Church.
“If you don`t know someone that well and you have sex with them it`s best to have a condom,” said Midtown Resident Reginald McGregor.
And in Shelby County, STD rates are high. Across the country, in 2011, statistics show 6 percent of the population contracted an STD. In Shelby County, the percentage is more than twice that. The health department says 70 percent of those cases were chlamydia but cases of syphilis and HIV are higher here than the national average. That's why McGregor says he went to a Midtown clinic to get tested.
“I am good. I am good,” said McGregor. “I am like happy, happy, happy, happy.”
But the health department says almost 7,000 people in Shelby County have gotten bad news, getting diagnosed with HIV.
“People just like you and I,” said the Executive Director of Friends for Life Kim Daugherty.
Daugherty says that why it’s so important to spread the message of safe sex.
If you would like to pick-up free condoms, go here: http://www.freecondomsmemphis.org/