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Keep sexy safe this Valentine’s Day

Feb 12, 2024
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – Feeling in the mood this Valentine’s Day?

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – Feeling in the mood this Valentine’s Day? Sex is a normal and healthy part of our lives and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reminding the public that when they choose to have sex, it’s important to be prepared and aware of the possible infections you may encounter.

STIs are infectious diseases that spread from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. Anyone can get a STI as these infections don’t discriminate on number of sexual partners, age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. However, STIs are preventable and you can protect yourself by talking about safer sex practices with every sexual partner so that you can protect one another. Ensuring that you are up to date with vaccinations against hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV), and by using condoms and/or oral dams when being sexually active.

Many STIs including syphilis, HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea don’t show any obvious signs or symptoms in the early stages, so it’s important to take precautions and get tested regularly to protect yourself and your partner. Early detection of an STI can help reduce or avoid health complications and can help to reduce the spread of STIs to others.

Using substances, including alcohol, cannabis and opioids, can increase your risk of contracting STIs, as substance use can impair your judgment and lead to risky sexual behaviour, including unprotected sex and multiple partners.

Free condoms are available at each health unit office. Individuals can access these discretely between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. The health unit also offers appointments to speak with a public health nurse at its Sexual Health Clinics in each of its offices in Collingwood, Cookstown, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Midland, Orillia, and at 80 Bradford St. in Barrie. Appointments are also available on Wednesdays in Elmvale.

The health unit’s sexual health clinics are safe, judgement-free LGBTQ2+ friendly spaces and offer full sexual health services including educational counselling and STI testing. Testing is free to everyone, including those without a health card. STI testing can be done without needing to provide a name. The health unit also offers free STI treatment for those who test positive for bacterial STI’s such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

For more information about sexual health or to book an appointment at the Sexual Health Clinic, visit smdhu.org/TheClinic or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll free 1-877-721-7520, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to book an appointment.

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