With the holiday season fast approaching, take a moment to check you’ve got everything ready to have a safe and fun time!
- Ensure you’re up to date with sexual health checks: if it’s been awhile since your last STI test, or if you’ve had unprotected sex in the past, visit a GP or sexual health clinic for a quick and confidential test.
- Be prepared and have a good supply of condoms and lubricant on hand if there’s a chance you’ll be engaging in sexual activity over the holidays. Don’t forget condoms can be difficult to get hold of in some overseas countries, so pack accordingly.
- While most people with an STI have no symptoms, symptoms can include unusual discharge from the penis or vagina, itchiness or lumps around the genital area or a burning sensation when urinating. If you notice any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a health professional. STIs that are left untreated can have serious consequences, including infertility.
- Don’t forget that STIs can also be passed on through unprotected oral sex, so use condoms and dams to protect yourself and your partner.
- If you do have sex without a condom, or if the condom breaks or falls off, emergency contraception is available over the counter in Australia at most pharmacies, and is most effective within 24 hours afterwards.
- Don’t let the holiday season mean you forget to schedule important health checks such as Pap smears (two-yearly for most women).
- Call the (confidential) Sexual Health Helpline on 9227 6178/1800 198 205 if you have any questions.
- Check out ‘Safe sex, why should I think about it?’ for more information http://shq.org.au/files/2014/06/Safe-sex-why-should-i-think-about-it-web.pdf
Please note: SHQ is closed from December 25th to January 3rd inclusive. If you require medical advice during this time, please contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holidays!