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Let's talk about safe sex, government urges young

Posted Dec 03 2009 7:33pm

The government has launched a campaign to encourage young people to talk more openly about sex and contraception.

Image from new campaign on contraception
The campaign aims to raise awareness about contraception

The teenage pregnancy rate in the UK is Europe's highest and ministers want to change attitudes towards safer sex.

People aged 16 to 24 should not be too embarrassed to talk openly with partners, friends, parents and health professionals, ministers argue.

A recent survey suggested 26% of people in that age group never discussed contraception with their partners.

The "Contraception. Worth Talking About" advertising will not feature any people, but will show snippets of "contraception conversations" in speech bubbles, in a variety of everyday scenarios, such as in a shopping centre, or in front of the television.

The campaign comes after figures earlier this year showed the government's target of halving teenage pregnancy rates by 2010 is likely to be missed.

'Taboo subject'

Data published in February showed there were 41.9 conceptions per 1,000 15 to 17 year olds in 2007 - up from 40.9 the year before.

There have also been concerns about rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, particularly chlamydia, among teenagers and young adults.

The Department of Health said a lack of knowledge and communication, as well as misinformation and poor attitudes, were hindering safer sex in young people.

A spokesman said a survey had suggested that 92% of people could not name the 15 types of contraception options available to them.

One in five said they felt awkward discussing contraception with friends, and 26% never discussed contraception with their partner.

Public Health Minister Gillan Merron said sex was still a taboo topic, with too many people holding back from having honest conversations with young people.

"There is a method of contraception to suit the lifestyle of everyone, and it's right to talk about these options," she said.

"The campaign is designed to change attitudes and show young people that having open conversations with their partners, friends, parents and health professionals is a must - it isn't something to be embarrassed about." Read more...

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