Press Release

Minister Launches Sexuality Awareness Campaign

Mr Micheál Martin, TD, Minister for Health and Children, today (22 November 2000) launched a national awareness campaign ”THINK TWICE EVERY TIME” aimed at educating, informing and empowering people about their relationships and their sexuality.

“The important message of the campaign, which is aimed at men and women in the 18 to 35 year-old age group, emphasises that both partners are responsible for their own and each other’s sexual health. In particular, both partners must take responsibility for preventing pregnancy and avoiding sexually-transmitted infection.” the Minister said.

The backdrop to the Think Twice Every Time campaign is the continuing concern about the number of crisis pregnancies occurring each year, and especially the number that end in abortion. Influencing factors already identified as contributing to the incidence of crisis pregnancy include a lack of understanding of fertility; attitude and access to contraception; the incorrect and inconsistent use of contraception; reluctance to discuss contraception with doctors; a failure among men to take responsibility for contraception and the combination of alcohol and sexual activity. Another worry is the rise in the incidence of sexually transmitted infection.

The campaign acknowledges that everyone has the right to say “no” to engaging in sexual activity and to have that choice respected. The message is that there is a choice to be made and no one, male or female, should be coerced.

Therefore the Campaign’s main messages are that people should:

  • share responsibility for preventing crisis pregnancies and sexually transmitted infection
  • be aware that alcohol consumption may lead to risk-taking behaviour, such as unprotected sex
  • know that preventing crisis pregnancies and sexually transmitted infection ideally requires two complementary preventative methods, such as the pill and the condom
  • respect the right to say “No” about engaging in sexual activity
  • be aware that responsible choices and decisions about sexual activity are best made by those who are informed and who have well-developed personal skills

This is the first campaign on such a wide and complex range of sexual health issues undertaken by the Department of Health and Children. It involves a number of focused initiatives which will be implemented in partnership with the Health Boards, other statutory and non-statutory bodies and a variety of interest groups. Its evolution will be monitored and evaluated in order to inform future initiatives.

Read the Minister’s speech