Valentines’ day is around the corner and today, on 12th Feb we celebrate Sexual & Reproductive Health Awareness day. This day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health issues and to educate people to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Why is this day celebrated?
This day is celebrated to address primary issues and concerns related to sexual health, sexual pleasure, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, sexual dysfunction and mental health issues related to sexual health.
Providing sex education is an important part of celebrating this day. Sex education aims to build a strong foundation for lifelong sexual health. Sexual health is considered to be a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity as defined by the WHO.
The complex emotional state in which youth find themselves in, stigma surrounding matters of a sexual nature in the Indian society and widespread gender inequality make it increasingly challenging for adolescents to attain the knowledge they need. Hence, proper sex education provides the basis to reduce confusion and shame surrounding sexuality in general.
What can you do to celebrate this day?
Get yourself tested-
Getting yourself tested for STI”s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) is highly recommended if you are sexually active. Even if you use condoms regularly, getting regular laboratory tests done is considered a standard practice to maintain good sexual hygiene.
For women who are sexually active, getting cervical screenings (Pap smears) done every year is a very good practice. These tests should be done irrespective of you facing any symptoms, a majority of STIs won’t show any signs.
Talk to your Doctor-
Talking to your Doctor about matters concerning sexual & reproductive health is a very good first step towards sex education. The stigma surrounding sexual health can be best addressed by a professional, who can grant proper information.
Talking about sex is considered a taboo in the Indian society and hence, it is not talked enough. So, we need to make sure that we share proper information with our siblings and children. Adolescents should also be encouraged to share their problems with regards to sex & STI’s in a guilt-free way.
This is how we can bring a future generation who is much more aware and knowledgeable about Sexual & reproductive health.