Belfast Telegraph

Revellers warned over contraception

Sexually active revellers have been warned to Think Contraception over the Christmas period.

The Crisis Pregnancy Programme said the first three months of the year was its busiest time, with more women attending crisis pregnancy services for help.

Dr Stephanie O'Keeffe, acting director, said: "Each year, crisis pregnancy counselling services see an increased level of clients at the start of the year, so it's vital that people are aware of the risks associated with unprotected sex and use contraception during the festive season to help prevent crisis pregnancy.

"The festive season is a time of year when people can be more likely to take risks with their sexual health, so it's important that condoms and other types of contraception are planned for, if there's a chance they might be needed."

Throughout December programme staff have been handing out Think Contraception protection packs, containing information and condoms, in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny and Galway.

The campaign also features posters in pubs and clubs saying "If you go past the mistletoe stage ... Think Contraception."

Meanwhile partygoers were advised to take control of their alcohol intake over Christmas and plan their nights out ahead.

Imeda McHugh, a psychotherapist at St Patrick's University Hospital, said drinking less could have positive results, including having interesting conversations which you remembered.

"Your safety both physically and mentally is less threatened, you don't wake up the next day with the dreaded hangover coupled with all those emotions of guilt, remorse, being flat broke, and a friendship list that no longer exists due to the 'I've been meaning to tell you this all year' syndrome," she added.

Her tips include holding your glass in your hand so no-one notices if you only have a soft drink, and telling people you are the designated driver or on antibiotics. She also advises to book a taxi home for a specific time in advance and get it, dance during the night giving yourself less time to drink or say you have commitments in the morning and don't want to be over the limit.

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