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Safer sex – all wrapped up

18 December 2007

Safer sex – all wrapped up

Family Planning says the busy holiday season is no reason for people to take short-cuts or risks with their sexual health.

Increased social activity, often with alcohol involved, and people being away from home and out of normal routines, can result in people taking risks they wouldn’t normally consider.

Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond says protecting sexual health should feature in people’s holiday planning so the organisation is running a poster campaign entitled “Do you wrap all your gifts? – use condoms and lube this festive season.”

“The campaign is not about encouraging sexual activity – it’s about getting people to recognize the risks of unprotected or unplanned sexual activity. Sexually transmissible infections, including HIV, and unplanned pregnancy can change people’s lives forever. Encouraging delay is a key part of our work – we want people to be aware of the benefits of waiting to become sexually active and then to have the skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe,” Ms Edmond says.

“And, it’s not just young people we want to heed the message – it seems a combination of summer, holidays, sun and alcohol can result in people of all ages behaving in a manner they wouldn’t usually consider. The campaign is to encourage people to keep themselves safe – to take responsibility for their own sexual health.”

“If you’re going to be away from home over the holidays, remember to take your supply of contraceptives away with you - this is especially important if you’re on the contraceptive pill,” Ms Edmond says.

“If you have older teenagers who are heading away with friends for the summer – it’s a great opportunity to talk with them about keeping themselves safe, especially if alcohol is part of their summer plans. Talk with them about the risks of unplanned sexual activity, especially if they’ve been drinking. You might like to give them a supply of condoms and lube to have as part of their holiday pack. Making some kind of arrangement so they can contact you – a phone card or some kind of free call to home scheme – will provide both of you with some additional peace of mind over the holidays.”

Five key points Family Planning would like everyone to remember these holidays.

1. Family Planning clinics will be open during the holidays – check out the website for details of the clinic nearest you. If you’re under 22, a clinic visit is free and if you have a Community Services Card, a clinic visit costs just $5.
2. Condoms and lube are the best protection against sexually transmissible infections.
3. Remember to pack your contraceptives if you’re travelling away from home over the summer holidays.
4. If you’ve had unprotected sex you can take the Emergency Contraceptive Pill for up to 72 hours afterwards. The ECP is available from Family Planning clinics, your doctor, accident and medical centres, sexual health clinics and pharmacies.
5. Alcohol or drugs can affect your decision making abilities. Stay with a group of friends and have a designated decision-maker to make sure everyone has a good time and gets home safely.

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