GREATER TORONTO AREA – This week (February 9-13, 2015) is Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week. Right before Valentine’s Day, which makes it the perfect time to learn more and be aware of your sexual health and how to protect yourself. Of course, this also applies any time of the year.
Valentine’s Day is one of those days (besides birthdays, anniversaries, and every third Thursday of the month) when singles and couples get all ‘romantico’. Sexual health is important, no matter what your age or relationship status, so everyone can benefit from a few quick and simple facts.
1) Protect yourself
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed on by direct sexual contact between sexual partners. The most effective way to prevent transmission of STIs is to practice safe sex with consistent and correct use of condoms, or practice abstinence (not have sex).
2) Get tested
- There are sexual health clinics in every Region in the GTA, offering a wide range of sexual health services related to birth control and STIs. Services include confidential, non-judgmental STI testing and treatment, birth control counselling and low-cost birth control options, including the emergency contraceptive pill and condoms. The clinics also provide anonymous HIV testing and rapid Point-of-Care HIV finger-prick testing, making results available in minutes.
Services at the clinics are available by appointment, at no cost to residents of any age and sexual orientation. A health card is not required.
3) Talk about sex
- Take the time to talk with your sexual partner. Talk about sex, birth control and STIs, and get tested before being sexually active with a new partner. This can help you become more comfortable and confident with your choices regarding sexual activity and can create a positive environment where sexual and reproductive rights are respected.
For more information on Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week and the Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights Heart Your Parts campaign, visit www.SRHweek.ca or join the conversation on Twitter @SRHweek #HeartYourParts.
For more information on birth control, STIs, testing, or to make an appointment at a Sexual Health Clinic, contact your Regional Health Department:
- York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit www.york.ca
- Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729 or visit www.durham.ca
- Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 (Caledon residents call free of charge 905-584-2216) or visit www.peelregion.ca
- Halton Region Health Department at 311 or 905-825-6000 or 1-866-442-5866 or visit www.halton.ca