Sexual roadshow coming to townYOUNG people and parents in Yeovil are being invited to speak with NHS and Somerset County Council (SCC) advisors about relationships and sexual health later this month.
It is all part of a new national campaign coming to the bandstand area in Yeovil at the junction of Stars Lane and Middle Street on January 30 and is aimed at helping people to make more informed choices about contraception, looking after their sexual health and avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
The campaign wants to promote more open and honest discussions about sex, relationships and contraception among 16 to 24-year-olds and their parents.
Research shows that a lack of knowledge, and misinformation, coupled with poor attitudes and communication is currently hindering their safer sexual behaviour.
Better communication and more knowledgeable conversations about sexual health and relationships have been shown to be crucial if people are to be helped to make informed choices and take care of their health.
Teenage pregnancies in Somerset have shown an increase in recent years. The national campaign will compliment the range of preventative initiatives that the NHS and SCC have implemented.
These include working with schools to set up on site health clinics, improving sex and relationship education in schools and providing peer education using teenage parents.
A website has been especially designed for young people in Somerset and can be accessed by clicking onto www.somersetcsh.co.uk which can be accessed via the links on this page. They can find a range of information on local sexual health services and where to get help in an emergency.
Commenting upon the aims of the new national campaign, Michelle Hawkes, NHS Somerset’s Public Health Specialist for Young People, said: “Sex still seems to be taboo – too many of young people are holding back from having the open and honest conversations with their parents and friends.
“This stops them making informed decisions, including about when it's right to have sex.
“Many young people still say they feel pressured to become sexually active. Often contraception is not discussed until they have already had unprotected sex.
“This leaves young women exposed to unwanted pregnancy and young people exposed to the risk of getting sexually transmitted infections, like Chlamydia or even HIV.
“We want young people to have safe sexual relationships and if they are engaged in sexual relationships to practice safe sex by using condoms.
“We hope this latest national campaign will help change attitudes and show young people that having open conversations with their partners, friends, parents and health professionals is not something to be embarrassed about. We’re should all strive for a culture of safer sex and better relationships.”
Dawn Primarolo, Children’s Minister said: “We want to help young people to talk to their family and friends without feeling uncomfortable, so that they can improve their knowledge and understanding about sexual health and feel more confident to make the choices that are right for them.”
She added: “Through compulsory sex education at school and health advice to teenagers, we are supporting young people to delay early sex, and to make sure they use effective contraception when they do start having sex.
“This is vital if we are to keep teenage pregnancy rates on their downward trend, and to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.”For straightforward information and advice to make it easier to discuss everything to do with sexual health visit: www.nhs.uk/worthtalkingabout which can also be accessed via the links on this page.