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With the arrival of spring, many people's minds turn to the birds and the bees, and to throwing caution to the wind. But caution can be an important thing to remember when it comes to romance and, particularly, to sex.

According to the American Social Health Association, 12 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are reported in the United States each year, two-thirds of them in people under age 25. Health experts say many cases could be prevented through the use of condoms and other "safe sex" practices.

For free, confidential information about STDs and condom use, call: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National AIDS Hot Line, (800) 342-2437; (800) 344-7432 (Spanish); (800) 243-7889 (TTY); CDC National STD Hot Line, (800) 227-8922, or National Herpes Hot Line, (919) 361-8488.

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