Sexual Health

World AIDS Day 2011




Sexual Health is an important aspect of our physical and mental wellbeing.  While sex is to be regarded as a natural part of life, certain aspects of sexual behaviour can also have a negative impact on our health.  Sexual Health promotion encompasses any activity that promotes positive sexual health; reduces the incidence of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, reduces unintended pregnancies including  teenage pregnancy, promotes sex and relationships education, brings about change in prejudice, stigma and discrimination. 


The regional Sexual Health Promotion Strategy and Action Plan aims to improve, protect and promote the sexual health and wellbeing of the whole population of NorthernIreland with a focus on prevention, training education and access to services.  In the Western Trust area, a Sexual Health Strategy Steering Group has been established to take forward actions contained in this document at a local level.  Each year an action plan for the West is agreed and a partnership approach is used to implement the strategy actions involving statutory, community and voluntary sectors.


Sexual health promotion is any activity that:

  • Promotes positive sexual health
  • Reduces the incidence of Sexual Transmitting Diseases including HIV
  • Reduces unintended pregnancies including teenage pregnancy
  • Promotes sex and relationships education
  • Brings about change in prejudice stigma and discrimination.

Preventing sexual ill health depends on everyone having information, life-skills and access to services to enable people to make informed choices.  The development of life-skills helps increase confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness to enable relationships and sexual lifestyles to be effectively managed. 


The Health Improvement Department supports a number of sex and relationship initiaitves including:

  • ‘Risky Business’ - Young People Alcohol and Sexual Health 1 Day Practitioner Training for staff working in the Statutory/Community/Voluntary Sector
  • Self Esteem and Confidence Boosting - A one day practitioners course for staff working in the statutory/community/voluntary sector who work in early years settings and those who work with parents of pre-school and Key Stage 1 children  
  • HIV Awareness Training - 3 hr session for staff working in the statutory/community/voluntary sector
  • Sexual Health Awareness - For staff who work with young people in the statutory/community/voluntary Sector
  • Choices / Bout Ye - personal development / sexual health course for young people under 25 years.  This course runs over a six week period but times can be negotiated with facilitators
  • ‘Lets Talk’-  Parents promoting sexual health.  This is a five week programme to support parents/carers living in the Western Trust area communicating with young people about relationships and sex
  • Speakeasy - This is a 90 minute programme that runs over 4 weeks for staff working in the Western Trust to support them in talking to their children about relationships and sex.


For more information about sexual health improvement inititiaves please contact:

Ann Linstrom, Health Improvement Officer