The business of Christmas has finally settled down! We bet you’re all exhausted, but ready for a bigger, better, and sexually healthier 2017! Are we right? But we’re guessing you don’t really know where to start. You’re not alone! We’re all motivated to have a better year, and tend to set a whole heap of New Year’s resolutions that we always forget or never get around to completing; so we’ve created an easy New Year’s checklist to help you stay on top of your sexual health throughout 2017!
This year I will… have condoms ready every time I have sex
Of course the frequency you re-stock your condoms depends on how sexually active you are. It’s important that you know whether you’re running low on condoms so you don’t run out if a sexual occasion arises. If you think that a sexual encounter might be a possibility, double check you’ve got the condoms!
This year I will…always practise safe sex
Having unprotected sex puts you at risk of getting an STI. Many people who have STIs don’t even know it, but can still pass the infection on. Lots of people plan on having safe sex, but find it hard to bring up the topic of condoms when it comes time to use one. Have the confidence to discuss safe sex early on with your partner – don’t wait until the heat of the moment. Don’t forget that STIs can also be passed on through unprotected oral sex.
This year I will… get an STI test, especially if I have had unprotected sex
Many people who have an STI have no symptoms so they don’t even know they have one. Tests are important for early diagnosis and usually only take a few minutes. STI tests are offered by SHQ, so make sure you book in for your New Year’s STI check-up! You can also visit couldihaveit.com.au for other testing locations.
This year I will…keep up-to-date with my Pap smears
When was the last time you had a Pap smear? Pap smears help detect early warning signs of cervical cancer and allow treatment to be received before cancer develops. The guidelines for Pap smear tests will change in May 2017. These new guidelines indicate that the Pap smear will be replaced by the Cervical Screening Test and you should get tested every five years after first having sex or when you turn 25. Make sure that you stay up to date with your Cervical Screening Test! (For more information please see http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/future-changes-cervical).
This year I will… check for lumps and bumps on the first day of every month
Breast and testicular checks are easily self-completed, and could save your life. Early detection of these cancers is beneficial for a successful treatment of any diagnoses. Set yourself a goal to complete these checks on the first day of every month so you can notice any changes, and familiarise yourself as to what is normal for you.
Hopefully this list gives you a guide of how to look after your sexual health throughout 2017! Feel free to add more to the list as you need, but make sure you stick to your New Year’s resolutions and make your sexual health a priority this year.
Wishing you a happy new year!