Our Lifestyle Editor Dáirne Black takes a look at the various events and organisations involved in the USI’s SHAG campaign.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) are launching their Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) campaign today. 
 
For the campaign the USI have collaborated with HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme, Durex and MSD Ireland among a wide range of other organisations that all specialise and work in the area of sexual health. 
 
With the slogan, “Whoever you like this Valentine’s Day, love safer sex,” the campaign will be heading to college campuses across Ireland over the next two weeks.
 
The research behind the campaign has found that 80% of young people use contraception every single time they have sex. This subsequently means that one in every five people take risks by not using contraception which can lead to them contracting an STI or an unplanned pregnancy. It is vital that some form of contraception is used by either one or both partners during sex. 
 
The aim of the SHAG campaign is to raise awareness of sexual health among students in the hope that those who are sexually active will have enjoyable, consensual, safe sex and will get tested regularly for STIs.
 
Speaking about the campaign, USI Vice President for Welfare, Greg O’Donoghue said:  “Sexuality is an integral part of being human, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight or however you define yourself. A healthy sexual relationship can contribute to an overall sense of well-being. 
 
"Because of that, this year’s SHAG campaign is bigger than ever. We’ve a whole week dedicated to the SHAG roadshow and a sexual health website that exclusively targets third level students. We’re confident that the campaign’s message will resonate with young people across the country. We want to promote positive attitudes towards sex and raise awareness of the importance of STI screening. "
 
Over the next week, the USI, along with various sexual health organisations, will be visiting campuses across the country for a Sexual Health Education Roadshow. The colleges involved in the roadshow are:
 
Mon 9th - DIT Aungier Street
Tue 10th - Waterford IT
Wed 11th – NUI Galway
Thur 12th – Carlow IT
 
Alongside the roadshow, approximately 40,000 SHAG packs will be distributed to college campuses. The packs contain a condom, a sachet of lubricant and information regarding safer sex and STIs. The packs will also contain an information booklet on the options available to you with regards contraception.
 
All college health centres can provide information on the various forms of contraception aswell as issuing prescriptions or even administering contraceptives like The Bar.

Photo: Rorro Navia/ Flickr