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Harris says condoms will be distributed across third level colleges in the final months of the year

The provision of contraceptives was one of the recommendations made by the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment.

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has confirmed free condoms will be distributed across third level colleges in the final three months of this year.

The Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment made a number of recommendations, including increased access to contraception. This includes targeted investment in the provision of free condoms.

Harris said this investment will allow for expanded access to the groups most at risk including third level facilities.

He said: “The first phase of the service will see a dispenser service being implemented across third level colleges and university access points in the fourth quarter 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.”

In 2018, figures indicate that 409,319 condoms and 287,565 lubricant sachets were delivered through National Condom Distribution Service to individuals and groups who may be at an increased risk of negative sexual health outcomes.

This will increase significantly with the targeted investment in third level education.

In addition, the Department of Health is investing in a general population survey in 2020 on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of sexual health and wellbeing and crisis pregnancy in Ireland.

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