Missed out on Valentine's?

Publish Date: 15/02/2013

 

On Valentine's Day The Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Team (NHS Manchester) launched a new campaign to encourage people to enjoy a safer, sexier Valentine’s Day. The campaign ‘Love is...’ aims to raise awareness on the importance of using condoms to help protect people from HIV and Chlamydia.
 
On Saturday 16 February, from 7.30pm, there will be volunteer models dressed as cupid touring the bars around the Gay Village. The models will be talking to people about getting an HIV test, handing out ‘Love is’ cards and a packet of love hearts sweets, plus free condoms and lube.
 
To help drive home the safer sex message there will be a number of activities that people can join in along the way including: having a photograph taken with the cupids and writing what 'love is' on message boards.
 
So what is Love?
 
In classical mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, and affection and is popularly shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.
 
Manchester's cupids also bring a very important message with more than 90,000 people currently living with HIV in the UK. According the Health Protection Agency over 10,000 gay men have HIV and don’t know it. In 2011 there was a 7% increase in the number of HIV and AIDS cases reported across the North West of England alone.
 
Love Is...Knowing your HIV status. Everyone who is sexually active is encouraged to have an HIV test at least once a year, but you should test more regularly if you think you may have put yourself at risk. It’s never been easier to look after your sexual health and get tested.
 
Love Is...Talking about sex and condoms. The only way to make sure you're having the sex you want is to talk to your partner about it. Don’t wait for them to bring it up. Be clear from the start what you expect, and what you enjoy.
 
Love Is... Protecting your partner. The confidence of enjoying safer sex with the person you love can make sex even more enjoyable. Look after yourself and your partner.
 
For more information about Chlamydia screening visit : www.RUclear.co.uk or call the confidential helpline on 0800 0461303.
 
To find out more about HIV testing visit: www.lgf.org.uk/testing