STI Spread in Wales Shows Urgency of Sex Education Upgrade

December 4, 2007 12:00 AM

Today, Jenny Willott MP and member of the UK Youth Parliament's Board of Trustees, co-signed a UKYP letter published in today's Times newspaper, calling for compulsory sex and relationship education (SRE) in all schools and for specialist training to be provided for teachers to provide the sort of advice and support that young people want and need.

The calls comes following a UKYP survey of over 21,000 young people's experiences of sex education in schools which highlighted the problems of some schools choosing to opt-out of SRE and many others providing little more than biological explanations with no emphasis on the real life experiences young people will encounter.

The Terrence Higgins Trust has also released new figures showing the rise in the new diagnoses of various STIs.

Commenting Jenny said:

"Sex and Relationship Education in schools is clearly not yet working as well in the UK as it does in other countries. In Wales, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections over the last four years.

"Since 2002, new diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases have risen by 27%. Last year alone saw a 23% increase in the number of 15 to 24 year olds accessing HIV care in Wales.

"Other European countries have shown that comprehensive and specialist sex and relationship education and support are essential in tackling the spread of STIs and in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.

"The Government should respond positively to the views of young people in this survey by providing the compulsory and specialist sexual education and advice that they want and need."

The Terrence Higgins Trust figures show that, in Wales, since 2002, new diagnoses of:

• STIs as a whole have risen by 27%

• Syphilis has risen by 162%

• Chlamydia has risen by 29%

• Genital warts have risen by 13%

• Herpes has risen by 7%

• Gonorrhoea has risen by 8%

They also show that there has been a 23% increase in the number of 15 to 24 year olds accessing HIV care in Wales since 2006. An estimated 30% of people in Wales living with HIV remain undiagnosed.

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