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Sexual health: not a hot topic but an important one

Sailor's cap and red boa on the arm of a chairThe Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have just launched a nationwide Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) campaign. With all the talk around the release of Matthew McConaughey’s new film, the timing couldn’t be more apt.

Dallas Buyers Club

Based on a true story, Dallas Buyers Club follows the exploits of a man in 1980s Texas who contracted AIDS. At first he’s in disbelief that he, a heterosexual man, has the ‘gay’ disease as it was commonly known.

Once over his shock, he finds ways to import needed medication, that wasn’t available in America. He started turning a profit by selling it to others with the virus, hence the title of the film.

Forgotten but not gone

The events of the film, indeed the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, seem like ancient history. As of yet though, there’s no cure for AIDS, so we should be no less cautious.

If you’re fortunate enough to be able access them, there are drugs available to help manage the condition and if you’re lucky, prolong your life. But this should never be seen as a solution for risky behaviour.

Life-changing but not newsworthy

The availability of medicine and some reduction in stigma around people who contract STIs and STDs means the topic is less newsworthy. But it’s important to note the relevance of sexual health today.

Annual SHAG campaign

The campaign focuses on all aspects of sex including:

Protect yourself

The greatest form of protection is to educate yourself. Make sure you’re aware of safe sexual practices and how to manage your sexual health, you’re a lot less likely to end up with regrets.

The Dallas Buyers Club happened nearly thirty years ago, but we shouldn’t forget what happened in that era. Whatever your sexual orientation it’s important to to have fun, though not at any expense.



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