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    Sexual Awarenes Day

Dear Ate Anna:

I recently saw a poster about Sexual Health Awareness Day. Can you please tell me something about that? Thank you.

Mrs. Martinez


Dear Mrs. Martinez

February 12th is Sexual Health Awareness Day. It is a day every year, just before Valentine’s Day, when people are encouraged to consider the importance of sexual and reproductive health.

Sexual health is about the physical, emotional, mental and social well-being of a person – not just about the absence of disease or dysfunction. The Universal Declaration of Sexual Rights adopted in Hong Kong in 1999 states that every person has the right to safe, pleasurable sexual experiences free from exploitation, violence and discrimination. For sexual health to be maintained, the sexual rights of all people must be respected and protected.

If sexual health is so important, why does it continue to be such a taboo subject? The Canadian Federation for Sexual Health suggests that it is time to open up the dialogue! One suggestion is to inform yourself about taking care of your sexual health and to share this information with your friends, family and co-workers.

Encourage friends and family to have regular check-ups and to mention anything unusual to the doctor. People who have had unprotected sex (who do not use condoms) with a new partner should ask the doctor for an STI test.

Ask questions about sexual health issues. Many people assume that the doctor will ask all the questions or give the necessary information, but doctors are sometimes embarrassed to discuss the sexual part of a patient’s life. Asking a question can let the doctor know that it is OK to talk to you about this.

There are also other resources for this kind of information such as books and reliable websites like where you will find links to other reliable websites, as well. You can also help friends and family seek out and find the sexual health information and services they are looking for. The poster you saw gives the e-mail address: People can send an e-mail if they are looking for information or to ask a question. The service is confidential.

You can talk to your partner about your sexual relationship. Using birth control or abstaining from sexual activity to prevent unplanned pregnancy are important things to discuss with a sexual partner. Men sometimes think that worrying about preventing pregnancy is the woman’s job. However, this kind of relationship issue works out better when both people can talk about it and support the decision that is made.

Sometimes one partner in a sexual relationship is experiencing some kind of problem. The problem is often more easily resolved if the couple can discuss it together. Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, if one partner can talk about how the situation makes her or him feel, the other partner at least knows what is going on.

Parents can teach their children that sexuality is not a taboo topic by answering questions and giving them information about their bodies. Today’s parents also need to share their values and beliefs with their family. Parents can also help their children understand that what they see on television and in other media is not always helpful or reliable information.

Ate Anna is concerned about the early sexualization of children by today’s popular culture. Parents must put their own discomfort aside and take seriously this job of educating and protecting their children.

Thank you for your question, Mrs. Martinez, and the opportunity to explain what Sexual Health Awareness Day is about. Remember, informing yourself is your right – passing your knowledge on to others is a gift!

Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200 – 226 Osborne Street N., Winnipeg, MB R3C 1V4 or e-mail:

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