Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 18:23 UK

Sexual diseases in children rise

Some young people are failing to protect themselves against STIs

The number of children diagnosed with chlamydia has risen by 27% over the past four years, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats.

The statistics indicated that cases of the sexually transmitted infection among 10 to 15-year-olds increased from 249 to 318 between 2004 and 2008.

Cases of conditions such as genital warts and gonorrhoea also rose.

The Scottish Government said it was working to increase young people's access to services and information.

The information was given to the Lib Dems following a parliamentary question to the government.

It showed that recorded cases of genital warts among children increased from 54 to 62 from 2004 to 2008, while cases of gonorrhoea rose from five to seven.

Access to sexual health services has increased greatly in Scotland
Shona Robison
Public health minister

Lib Dem health spokesman Ross Finnie said the health secretary should respond to the "shock" figures.

"A good start would be actually talking to young people about sex and sex education, something the Scottish Government miserably failed to do before proposing to change Scotland's sexual offences laws," he said.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said reducing the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections was one of the main aims of the government's national sexual health strategy.

She said the government was working with health boards and councils to ensure sex education was delivered in schools, and to ensure sexual health drop-in services were available within or near every school in Scotland.

She added: "Through additional Scottish Government funding of £5.18m annually, access to sexual health services has increased greatly in Scotland."

Catherine Murphy, of Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said sex and relationships education in schools needed to improve.

She said: "We need to accept that having a legal age of consent will not stop some young people from having sex; what we can do is make sure that those who do are equipped with all the information they need to protect themselves and their partners from STIs and unwanted pregnancy."

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