There has been a worrying rise in the number of STIs across Ireland with new figures showing 17% don’t use protection outside of a relationship.
The Healthy Ireland study showed that sexually transmitted infections increased from 3,361 in 1995 to 12,626 reported in 2014.
And one of the main contributing reasons is the fact that more than a quarter are not using condoms during casual sex.
A new campaign is encouraging those who are sexually active to go to their pharmacist for contraception advice while a host of free testing clinics are being advertised on www.hivireland.ie
Newstalk reported that the drive was launched with assistance by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and the Irish Family Planning Association.
IPU President Kathy Maher said: “The incidence of STIs is on the rise and it is critical that people take steps to protect their health and get tested.
“Your local pharmacist can offer you a private and confidential consultation and can help you arrange to get tested. Your pharmacist can also offer advice on contraception, as well as dispensing emergency contraception if required”.
A shocking 80% of STIs are symptomless. Ms Maher said that meant that Even if you feel healthy, if you have had unprotected sex, you should ask your pharmacist for advice about getting tested.
Many pharmacies now stock home testing kits.