Take control of your own sexual health…before someone else does, warns HIV Charity Chief
The Chief Executive of HIV Charity, Positive Life, has warned the public to take control of their own sexual health and protect themselves from the unknown.
The message marks the start of Sexual Health Week in Northern Ireland which takes place between 12 – 18 February.
The charity is calling on the public to speak openly about sexual health and how they can take preventative measures against Sexually Transmitted Infections such as HIV.
The charity also wants people to continue to challenge the stigma of taking care of their own sexual health and get tested to make sure that those actions are part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Jacquie Richardson, Chief Executive, Positive Life commented:
“The reality is that people have sex. However, in Northern Ireland we see that many are often embarrassed about taking a proactive approach to protecting themselves against the unknown. This is as simple as buying or asking for condoms or getting tested.”
“More often than not, sex education at second and third level education tries to teach us about the basic elements, but fails to place an emphasis on maintaining good sexual health. This ultimately has a knock-on impact as we are generally not as alert to potential dangers as we move into adulthood and have sexual relationships.”
“Northern Ireland is quite a conservative society when it comes to speaking openly about our sexual health. We not only see people being embarrassed about it, we see ignorance and apathy which is extremely difficult to turn around.”
“It is a natural fact that we aren’t always aware of the sexual history of those we are in any kind of sexual relationship with. So, we need to look after ourselves if we feel exposed to risk, because if we don’t take control, no one else will. For example, we estimate that around 200 people in Northern Ireland have HIV, but are unware that they are living with it. This means that they are at risk of transmitting it unknowingly.”
“It’s time to stop being embarrassed, face up to reality and take charge of our own sexual health.”