15/06/2007

Report identified 'teen sex health crisis'

Alcohol, drugs and promiscuity are fueling a sexual health crisis among Britain's teenagers, a report has claimed.

The report by the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV said that the celebrity-obsessed culture was helping to fuel this behaviour, which was leading to an increase in sexually transmitted infections and high teenage pregnancy rates.

Professor Mark Bellis, head of the centre for public health at Liverpool John Moores University and one of the authors of the report, said that the link between alcohol, drugs and risky sexual behaviour was a "fuel for a sexual health crisis".

The report said that promiscuous teenagers were at greater risk of contracting an STI, becoming young parents, failing at school, building up longer-term physical and mental health problems and becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs.

The report, said that restrictions on advertising condoms on television before 9pm and a lack of compulsory sex education in schools was making the problem worse.

The report said: "There are restrictions on advertising condoms pre-watershed and on showing a picture of a condom out of its wrapper. Our young people are therefore receiving distorted messages."

The report suggested that condoms should be made readily available to young people and also said that alcohol consumption among teenagers needed to be reduced, by both making it difficult to buy it and by getting messages about alcohol consumption across at a young age.

The report followed a recent Unicef report which placed the UK at the bottom of a table of 21 countries for children's well being.

That report found that more children in the UK had had sexual intercourse by the age of 15 than any other country, that more children had been drunk twice or more by the ages of 11, 13 and 15, than any other country and that UK children were the third-biggest users of cannabis.

(KMcA/JM)




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