With the sun shining down on us, and two long bank holiday weekends ahead, there is an air of celebration in many workplaces across Britain this week.
But sexual health campaigners are concerned that this carnival atmosphere may lead to some risky sexual encounters over the forthcoming weekends.
Among the groups that have expressed worries is the council of St. Helen’s, near Manchester, who have posted a message on their website which states: “St. Helens Council is urging young people to give careful consideration to their sexual activity in advance of the holiday period by planning their contraception in advance.”
Back in 2004, in advance of a bank holiday weekend, the NHS produced estimations of the number of new sexually transmitted infections that would be occurring, in an attempt to warn people to use contraception. The figures showed that there would be 1,440 new cases of chlamydia, 572 cases of genital warts and 207 cases of gonorrhoea over the weekend.
It is expected that sales of erectile dysfunction treatments like Viagra could rise over the weekends. The last time that a surge in Viagra demand occurred was on Valentine’s Day in February. Some commentators have suggested that the romance of the royal wedding may create an amorous mood for couples, thereby increasing demand for the 'little blue pill'.
Health professionals want people to enjoy the bank holidays, but insist that if you think you may have sex, you should be prepared – whether you think it’s contraception or Viagra, or both, that you need.