The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has launched its annual Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) campaign in campuses nationwide.
The campaign is run in collaboration with the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and the tagline of this year's event is ‘Are You Getting It?'
"This year, we're asking students ‘Are You Getting It?' when it comes to STI (sexually transmitted infection) tests and consent. It's important that every student who is sexually active looks after their own sexual health. This means getting tested regularly and using condoms to protect yourself from the risk of contracting an STI," commented USI president, Michael Kerrigan.
Provisional figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show that last year, over 5,000 people aged 15-24 were diagnosed with either chlamydia, gonorrhea or genital herpes. This is an 11% increase on 2016's figures.
"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 an STI and an unplanned pregnancy," said Helen Deely, head of the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.
She added that the HSE is delighted to partner with the USI on this initiative and the Johnny's Got You Covered campaign team will be on hand to distribute condoms and lubricant to students nationwide.
The HSE and USI distributed 40,000 condoms and lubricant packs to students as part of the SHAG 2017 campaign. This year, the campaign team will be on location in a number of third level facilities, including NUI Maynooth, Waterford IT and IT Carlow.
For more information on the USI, click here
For more information on the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, click here