Free condoms to be made available to students from September

Free condoms are to be made available at third level institutions from September, the Minister for Health Simon Harris has confirmed.

The service is part of a targetted government strategy to promote sexual health.

Figures show that last year, 409,319 condoms and 287,565 lubricant sachets were delivered through the National Condom Distribution Service.

The announcement comes following recommendations from The Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment to increase access to contraception.

The Department of Health will also roll out a Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis programme, which is medication used to prevent HIV.

A nationwide sex survey will also be carried out next year on peoples' attitudes to sexual health and crisis pregnancy in Ireland.

Speaking about the scheme, Minister Harris said: "The first phase of the service will see a dispenser service being implemented across third-level colleges and university access points in quarter four of 2019.

“This is one of a number of things we are doing to promote sexual health. We have allocated €500,000 to join the Fast Track Cities Initiative and increase community HIV testing.

“Later this year, we will roll out PrEP. The working group on the provision of free contraception is also due to report in September with policy options in this regard.

“As Minister for Health, I believe it is crucial we work to reduce the number of crisis pregnancies, increase awareness about sexually transmitted infections and improve sexual health.”

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