Sexual Health

Healthy sexuality is about more than just sex.

It’s about being who you truly are and loving who you want to love. 

It’s about having fulfilled, healthy relationships free from violence.

It’s about celebrating life in all its uniqueness!

And positive sexual health is essential to a person’s overall health and well being. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a great definition of sexual health.

To access sexual health services, contact your nearest health clinic.

Sexual Health clinical services

For all questions related to sexual health services call 811.

A nurse will answer questions and provide direction to the closest sexual health service.

A person may also directly contact:

  • A Sexual Health clinic
  • A family physician’s office
  • A Nurse Practitioner if you are a high school student (most high schools)
  • A Student Health Centre if you are attending university full-time

How Horizon’s Sexual Health program works

The Sexual Health program uses a population health-approach to empower groups, communities, and populations to make positive change in the health and sexual well being of individuals.

Program staff work with other Public Health professionals, physicians, nurse practitioners, parents, students, community groups and other partners to develop programs and initiatives that are based on the needs, strengths, and priorities of the groups and communities we serve.

We use the WHO framework  as the “lens” to guide our practice. Use of the framework aims to support healthy sexuality for all ages and to promote sexual health services that are free of stigma and discrimination, regardless of a person’s sex, race, ethnic background, age, lifestyle, income, sexual orientation or gender expression.

Program goals

  • To promote the sexual health of New Brunswickers
  • To reduce the number of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections
  • To increase the number of healthy and planned pregnancies

Our three strategies

Parents, Step-Parents and Guardians are the Primary Educators

The Sexual Health program supports parents, step-parents and guardians in their role as the primary sexual health educators of their children and youth.

We partnered with Horizon’s Research Services on a research project. The results will help us to understand the sexual health education practices and needs of New Brunswick parents, stepparents, and guardians. The results of this study will also be used to inform the development and/or adaptation of sexual health education resources to assist parents, stepparents and guardians in their role as primary sexuality educators.

Open conversations between parents and guardians and their children and youth should begin early in the home so that children and youth understand the positive aspects of healthy sexuality and relationships. Youth need the tools to make informed decisions before engaging in sexual activity.

Teachings should be age appropriate and should be a part of everyday conversation and learning. Parents and guardians can have the opportunity to connect with their children and youth to relate their values and demonstrate positive behaviours.

Topics for discussion may include the proper naming of body parts, personal boundaries, gender and sexual diversity, consent, healthy relationships and safer sex, to name a few.

Enhancement of Horizon Staff Education

We support the learning needs of Horizon staff. An e-learning module has been developed and the content consists of appropriate language and definitions; explanation of the law; and importance of providing inclusive, welcoming and safe health care to our trans (transgender) clients. The support and guidance of individuals in the trans community has made this learning invaluable.

Social Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning is the process of learning about and managing one’s emotions, caring for others and making responsible decisions, even in challenging situations. This learning provides the foundation for developing healthy relationships.

We support our early learning centers and schools in the promotion of this type of learning.

Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships provide a feeling of safety, honesty, open communication, mutual respect, acceptance and enjoyment. A healthy relationship makes you feel good about yourself and the person you’re with.

It is especially important to teach youth about healthy, versus unhealthy, relationships. Dating violence is very common in this age group.

We support education programs that are based on the latest research, including:

The opposite of a healthy relationship is an unhealthy relationship. Unhealthy relationships often involve control, fear, and lack of respect. They may involve threats, name-calling, blaming, controlling behavior and violence.

Violence in a relationship can be mental, emotional, physical, and sexual in nature. Intimate partner violence (violence in a romantic relationship) is never okay.

If someone is experiencing violence in the relationship, it’s important to immediately tell someone who is trusted.

If a person is in immediate danger call 911.

Sexual Violence Prevention

Sexual violence is about power and control. It violates a person’s human right to feeling safe and secure. Sexual violence is any harmful behavior perceived by the victim to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding of the victim.

Sexual violence can be prevented. Everyone in society has a part to play in this prevention and eventual elimination of sexual violence.

The Sexual Health program team works with government and community partners in the areas of sexual violence awareness and prevention.

Collaborating with partners is also key in the creation and promotion of policies that challenge rape culture and gender-based violence by creating supportive, safe places in which to live, work and play.

Safer Sex Promotion

Promotion of testing

The Sexual Health program advocates for the normalization or routine testing of sexually transmitted infections (STI) to promote the health of the population.

Stigma and discrimination related to sexually transmitted infections is a Public Health concern and continued efforts are needed to break down the barriers to testing and care.

Sexually transmitted infections

sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that can be spread from one person to another through any type of sexual activity.

Sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI) are spread through all types of sex, through blood, and from mother to child.

Prevention is key. Talking about safer sex with every partner, checking that vaccinations against Hepatitis B and HPV are up to date, and using condoms and/or oral dams for all types of sex are ways to reduce risk.

Birth control

Birth control is used to prevent pregnancy. There are several methods available in Canada.

If a person is 19 years and younger and cannot afford birth control, the individual can call 811 and speak to a nurse about being eligible for free birth control.

Emergency contraception

There are two types of emergency contraception. The “Morning After Pill” can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. The pill may be given for free at many high school sexual health clinics and community health centers and may also be purchased at a pharmacy as a prescription is not required.

The most effective method of emergency contraception is a copper intrauterine device (IUD), which is inserted by a trained health provider within 7 days of unprotected sex. A prescription is required. The IUD can remain in the person’s body and be used as a form of birth control.

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.

We support harm reduction initiatives in our communities that include needle exchange programs and safe needle disposal options.

For access to needle exchange services contact:

  • An AIDS New Brunswick office at 1-800-561-4009 if you live in the Fredericton /Upper River Valley or Miramichi area
  • An ENSEMBLE office at 506-859-9616 if you live in the Greater Moncton area
  • An Avenue B Harm Reduction Inc. office at 506-652-2437 if you live in the Saint John and surrounding area

Horizon Sexual Health Services

Saint John