Sunday, 29 August 2010

STIs - education is the answer not outrage

A good article in the Observer today on the STI data published last week - as a round up of the week the article ncludes some snippets from other newspapers that conclude the increase in diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections as indicative of increasing sexual immorality amongst young people, and make some predictable pronouncements that increases in STIs are a result of sex and relationships education, rather than the increased awareness and testing

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sexually transmitted infections - latest statistics

Today saw the release of the latest statistics on sexually transmitted infections by the Health Protection Agency.

While the headlines reported on the increasing rates, much of the rise in the overall figures will also be a result of increased awareness and testing which is good news. Quarterly data also shows that teenage pregnancy rates and abortion rates have fallen, showing that we must continue to support young people to make good decisions about their physical and emotional health.

Young people tell us their sex and relationships education (SRE) is too little, too late and too biological and it needs to address emotions and relationships more effectively. Done well, SRE provides an important antidote to the confusing sexual messages they receive in the playground and from the media day in day out.

We urge government to make sex and relationships education statutory in all schools, and to ensure that young people's sexual health is a core part of the forthcoming National Public Health Service.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Interesting research on girls and puberty

There is an increasing body of research about the earlier onset of puberty. This particular article in the Guardian this week focuses on girls in the USA.

Over recent months I find myself in more and more conversations with people across Brook about the younger clients that we see and the questions they have about relationships and sex. The age of puberty, sexual development and sexual activity has been the subject of much discussion ever since I have been working in sexual health over the last 15 years.

This type of research shows yet again that we must work with the fact and science that many children are maturing faster than in previous generations and as adults - parents, teachers and other educators we must ensure we provide timely education and support so they do not grow up with the fear, embarrassment and silence that so many of my generation did.

And of course yet more reinforcement of the need for compulsory sex and relationships education in schools. Not that we require any more evidence of its need.