Love is ....looking after your sexual health

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust wants to highlight the importance of looking after your own sexual health during Sexual Health Week from the 10 – 14 February 2014.

Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) have risen over the last 10 years with some infections becoming more resistant to medications. STI’s and poor sexual health can have a wide reaching impact and long-term consequences. Individually they can impact on a person’s sexual and mental health and well-being. People are at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, genital and other cancers, ectopic pregnancy, infertility and other adverse outcomes of pregnancy including pre-term delivery and low birth weight. In terms of mental health and well-being low self-esteem, stress, depression and relationship difficulties can all be associated with STI’s and poor sexual health.

Claire Galloway, Clinical Lead Nurse for sexual health in the Northern Trust said: “There are a range of methods of contraception to help prevent unplanned pregnancy however these will not prevent transmission of STI’s. Wearing a condom properly will reduce the spread of STI’s and help prevent an unplanned pregnancy”.

It is important to note that even if you are not having full sexual intercourse that you are still at risk of STI’s. Not everyone who has a STI has signs or symptoms. Sometimes these don’t appear for weeks or months but you can still have the infection and pass it on to someone else. However, most sexually transmitted infections can be treated and it is usually best if treatment is started as soon as possible. We recommend anyone who is sexually active and has unprotected intercourse in the past should attend for testing.

If you think you have a STI it is important that you get checked out and receive treatment. Please contact your local GUM (Genito-Urinary medicine) Clinic for appointments. The clinic is located in Causeway Hospital, Outpatients Department 2 and is a walk in service. Registration is every Tuesday at 5.00pm and Friday at 1.30pm or you can phone the clinic on 028 7034 6028.

The Trust also recommends that parents check out the website www.saferinternet.org.uk for advice on how to keep their children safe while they are online. There are also tips for parents to consider when embarking on buying smart phones for their children, help and advice on issues such as sexting and cyberbullying. This Sexual Health Week coincides with Safer Internet Day on 11 February 2014.

For further information contact:

Sharon Bingham, Senior Health Promotion Officer (Sexual Health) 2563 6600.

or email: sharon.bingham@northerntrust.hscni.net

Page last updated:04 February 2014