Sex infections on the rise in Scots children

The number of children diagnosed with chlamydia in Scotland has risen by 27 per cent since 2004, ministers have admitted.

In 2004 there were 249 cases of chlamydia among ten to 15-year-olds, compared with 318 in 2008.

Diagnoses of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhoea and genital warts also increased slightly over the five year period.

The figures were obtained through a Written Parliamentary Question to the Scottish Government from Liberal Democrat MSP Ross Finnie.

Mr Finnie commented: “These children shouldn’t even be having sex, let alone catching unpleasant and often dangerous diseases.

“Young people need to be aware that sexually transmitted diseases can be fatal, cause infertility and lasting health problems.”

He said the Government should talk to young people more about sex and sex education.

There are concerns that the current approach to sex education provides children with too much information and too little moral guidance.

Advice produced by the NHS earlier this year told parents to avoid telling teenagers what is right and wrong when discussing sex.

Despite spending £280 million on information campaigns and handing out contraception to young people since launching its ten-year drive to halve teenage pregnancies by 2010, it is on course to fall dramatically short of this target.

Teenagers can now access sex education information online, at school and through local sexual health clinics. Earlier this year the Government pledged to plough a further £20.5 million into the provision of such schemes.

Schools in England and Wales will soon have to provide more in-depth sex education as a compulsory part of the primary and secondary curriculum, and some groups want to see sexual health clinics introduced in every secondary school.

David Paton, professor of economics at Nottingham University’s Business School, commented on the approach last year: “There has been a tendency for the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy to focus on creating schemes where teenagers can get the morning-after pill or other forms of family planning at school or clinics.

“The danger with this sort of approach is that it can lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviour amongst some young people.”

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