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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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Email and drop-in service to support sexual health in gay community

The Gay Switchboard is also hoping to launch a video chat service next year to encourage younger people who are having issues to get in touch.

Image: man in therapy image via Shutterstock

THE GAY SWITCHBOARD Dublin (GSD), a helpline to support the gay community, will today start to operate a face-to-face drop-in service and an email service to promote sexual health.

Director of GSD, Tony Cooney, told TheJournal.ie that the new services will open up more options for people who do not feel comfortable talking to a stranger on the phone about HIV and other STIs.

“It’s very important for some people to be able to talk face-to-face, and with the email service, some people who wouldn’t pick up the phone can do it more anonymously,” he said.

The drop-in service will operate every Saturday from 2pm to 4pm at Outhouse on Capel Street in Dublin with at least two volunteers in individual meeting rooms available to chat. As part of the service, they will also hand out free condoms to those attending.

Similarly, the email service will run on Saturdays at the same time and those looking for more immediate contact can still call the helpline which runs seven days a week with 36 volunteers in total.

Cooney said the organisation also aims to launch a live video chat service by the middle of next year, with the hope of encouraging younger people to get in touch with their issues.

We wanted to expand and tap into the needs there are for the community in terms of promoting safer sex.

While the new weekend features will have a main focus on sexual health, Cooney said that people can “come in and talk about whatever issues they have”.

The Gay Switchboard handles up to 3,000 calls a year and the expansion of services is part of a wider collaboration with other organisations in the Gay Men’s Health Service. Details on the two services can be found on the Gay Switchboard Dublin website.

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