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Friday, June 19, 1998 Published at 20:04 GMT 21:04 UK

Health: Latest News

Teenagers 'need more sex education'

Half of all HIV carriers in the UK are under 25

Half of all Britons with HIV are under 25, according to a report by the Labour-leaning Fabian Society.

The society accuses Britain of failing to prepare young people for a healthy sexual life. And it blames both school and parents for the failure.

It says schools need to ensure that sex and relationships are a mandatory part of the national curriculum, but adds that parents also need to be more open and honest about sex.

One in 10

The report estimates that 90% of British teenagers have sex and one in 10 have a sexually transmitted disease.

[ image: Do teenagers need more sex education?]
Do teenagers need more sex education?
A spokeswoman said: "We need to get real and generate a climate of openness, provide free information and ensure access to confidential advice."

The report backs moves to make emergency contraception - also known as the morning-after pill - available from community nurses and pharmacists.

It also wants teenage sexual health to be one of the government's public health priorities. Britain has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the developed world.

Open attitude

The Fabian Society says countries with more open attitudes to sex have the lowest rates. Although schools are required by law to provide sex education, the society says only 70% do.

It is also concerned that homosexuality is not mentioned by many schools because they mistakenly believe that the 1989 Local Government Act means this is illegal.

The society says this has led to isolation and despair for many gay teenagers, several of whom attempt suicide as a result.

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