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Every relationship is unique. A healthy relationship is based on respect, trust, and good communication. If you are thinking about having sex, talking to the person about how you feel is important.

Discussing issues such as contraception or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can help you both share your thoughts and worries. It can help you make decisions together that suit you both.

Attitudes to sexual health in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, findings from a 2013/14 health survey indicated that, of those surveyed:1

  • 83% agreed it is necessary to use condoms with a new partner, even if they are using some other method of contraception;
  • 27% agreed that condoms should be used when engaging in oral sex;
  • 19% of respondents had sought advice on STIs and of these 31% had sought advice from a GUM clinic;
  • 31% agreed drinking had contributed to having sex without using condoms;
  • while many people had heard of specific STIs, there was a lower level of knowledge relating to signs or symptoms of specific STIs or how they can be passed on.

Finding from the 2012/13 survey indicated that:

  • 21% of respondents wrongly believed that the pill would provide protection against STIs.15
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