This week is Sexual Health Awareness Week, and to mark the occasion a sexual health specialist has spoken about the services available in the island.

Organised by UK-based charity Brook, the initiative that takes place annually aims to keep the public updated on sexually-transmitted infections, as well as sex education.

The first campaign of its kind was launched in 2010 with World Sexual Health Awareness Day in an effort to promote a greater social awareness on the matter.

Ella Raine, specialist nurse in integrated sexual health said: ‘This week we’re marking Sexual Health Week.

‘The theme for this year’s awareness week for sexual health is playing it safe so we’re putting an emphasis on protection and prevention of both STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

‘The good news is we’re currently running an integrated sexual health service here at Noble’s Hospital where you can visit the GUM clinic and get your STI screening done and you can also have your contraception taken care of and provided for you all under one roof.

‘Just to remind people also of emergency contraception. So what we might know is the morning after pill, you can get that from us as well as your GP or your local pharmacy, and a reminder to anyone who is due to have a smear test, we encourage you to book that with your GP, with your practice nurse or the StayWell clinic here at Noble’s Hospital.’

Brook, a sexual health and wellbeing charity that launched the initiative, explained this year’s playing it safe theme.

A spokesperson for the charity said: ‘Being safe means feeling empowered to access contraception, testing and treatment. It means understanding consent, healthy relationships and pleasure.

‘It also means providing relationships and sex education (RSE) that gives young people the tools to navigate the world safely both online and offline, and delivering safe, accessible sexual health services wherever people need them.’

In previous years, the awareness week has focused on issues such as alcohol and sexual health, as well as talking to spouses about contraception. A number of online talks covering various elements of sexual health are taking place which can be found on Brook’s website:

The awareness week began on Monday, September 11 and will end this Sunday, September 17.