A young man from Clonmel is helping to lead a national campaign in third level colleges to highlight sexual health this week.
Scott Ahearn, from Grange, became Welfare Officer with the Union of Students in Ireland earlier this year. He is the son of Cllr Liam Ahearn, former chairman of South Tipperary County Council, and the late Theresa Ahearn TD.
USI launched its annual SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance) Week 2012 just before Valentine’s Day, on Monday last. The nationwide campaign is supported by Durex, who will provide a massive 40,000 condoms and 40,000 sachets of Play lubricant for the campaign, which will go in sexual health awareness packs and be distributed in colleges around the country.
As part of the promotion of Sexual Health Awareness during SHAG week, a number of universities will be visited by ‘the world’s only sexual health magician’ who will deliver the important message of Sexual Health Awareness in a novel, entertaining and educational way. LTI’s Clonmel campus is not expecting a visit from the magician.
All the information provided within each SHAG pack aims to help students have safer sex and make informed decisions regarding their contraceptive choices.
Launching the campaign in his role as USI Welfare Officer , Scott said: “It is more important now than even before to promote safer sex practices in our young people. Most STIs are symptomless so if students are sexually active, we want to encourage them to use condoms and make sure they have regular STI checks.”
Hazel Roche, Brand Manager of Durex Ireland said: “We are delighted to be able to support such an important initiative as SHAG Week again. Sexual health should be an integral part of every student’s life. Our last Durex survey highlighted the importance of safer sex; with more than a quarter of 18 to 25-year-olds having had sex with more than six partners. What’s more we know that less than 10 per cent of people in this age group have regular STI checks and only 44 per cent always use condoms, despite one in five worried about contracting chlamydia. We want people to feel comfortable using and talking about condoms, because carrying a condom should be as normal as carrying your mobile phone or your wallet.”
Scott, who is 24, is a history graduate from UCD where he served two years as Welfare Vice President in the UCD Student Union.
The role of USI Welfare Officer entails supporting local college welfare officers in carrying out their campaigns, rolling out national welfare campaigns, such as Mental Health week, and working with relevant organisations on welfare policy.