Are you getting it? – USI launches safe sex campaign

James Nolan

The Union of Students in Ireland has joined with the HSE to launch a sexual health awareness and guidance Credit: Irish Times

The Union of Students in Ireland launched a Sexual Health and Awareness Campaign last week, in collaboration with the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy initiative.

The campaign, containing the “Are you getting it?” tagline, was introduced during Valentine’s week in third level institutions and aims to encourage students to seek guidance in relation to STI information, testing, getting contraception and consent.

Ahead of the launch, USI President Michael Kerrigan emphasised the importance of sexually active students looking after their sexual health.

“This year, we are asking students ‘are you getting it’ when it comes to STI tests and consent. It’s important that every student who’s sexually active looks after their own sexual health,” said Kerrigan.

“This means getting tested regularly, using condoms to protect you from the risk of contracting an STI,” he added.

Helen Deely, who is head of the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, encouraged students to think ahead before engaging in sexual activity and to practice safe sex.

“We would actively encourage people who are thinking of having sex or are sexually active, to think ahead and practice safer sex. Using a condom will help limit the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection and an unplanned pregnancy,” said Deely.

Health Protection Surveillance Centre provisional records state there were 5200 cases of young people diagnosed with either, chlamydia, gonorrhoea or  genital herpes, which represents an increase of 11.2 per cent of STIs on the 15-24 age bracket when compared to 2016 figures.

In 2017, the HSE, in partnership with the USI, distributed 40,000 condoms and lubricant packs to students as part of the #SHAG2017 campaign.

The Johnny’s Got You Covered Campaign was on site at IT Carlow, Waterford IT and NUI Maynooth University during Valentine’s week, while the SHAG road show continued up to Queens University Belfast.

James Nolan