USI to distribute 30,000 ‘SHAG Packs’ during Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance Week

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USI to distribute 30,000 ‘SHAG Packs’ during Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance Week

USI to distribute 30,000 ‘SHAG Packs’ during Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance Week

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) today (Monday, February 11) launched the highly anticipated National Campaign ‘SHAG’ (Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance) Week, in collaboration with the HSE.

The campaign will include distribution of 30,000 ‘SHAG Packs’, as well focusing on tackling growing STI rates, education on consensual sex, and all-options supports for unplanned pregnancies

SHAG Week 2019 will focus on areas such as:

* STI’s (awareness, prevention, testing and treatment)
* Consent
* Unplanned Pregnancy (promotion of  HSE MyOptions)
* Contraception (the various methods of contraception and how to use them)

Throughout the week, 30,000 ‘SHAG PACKS’ will be distributed around USI affiliated colleges in Ireland. The contents of these will include condoms, lubricant, information on consent, STIs and contraception.

HSE research finds: Chlamydia in young people (aged 15-24) makes up 50% of all cases reported, Gonorrhoea in young people make up 39% of all cases reported while genital herpes in young people make up 38% of all cases reported

USI in conjunction with SmartConsent, will roll out consent education workshops across the country during the week.

USI President, and Longford woman Síona Cahill said; “SHAG Week is one of the most important campaigns in the student calendar year. Being intimate with someone should be an amazing experience when you’re ready, but it’s an experience we’re often afraid of talking about - so for USI SHAG 2019, we’re focusing on how communication is genuinely essential for healthy, pleasurable and safe sex - every time”

It is widely recognised that students have not receiving adequate sexual health and wellbeing education in primary and post-primary, and SHAG week is an opportunity to educate them about safer sex, how to protect themselves from STI’s or unplanned pregnancies, as well as the importance of consent, and has done so for over two decades. We will continue to advocate and support moves to improve the sex ed curriculum as a matter of urgency”

“This year it is the first time in Irish history that USI can legally provide all-options unplanned pregnancy information to our members through HSE MyOptions, after 35 years of student activism for pro-choice healthcare in Ireland. USI will strive to ensure each student reached throughout this campaign will be given legal and responsible information on how to access abortion care, should they need it.”

“USI are heavily weighting the campaign on consent education,, through our SHAG Packs and rollout of consent workshops.  It’s also important that every student who’s sexually active looks after their own sexual health. This means getting tested regularly, and using condoms and contraception to protect you from the risk of contracting an STI”

This campaign is the only one of its kind and is set to reach over 30,000 students in third level at least.”