The London Assembly have released a draft report looking at the sexual health of London's young people. Despite their efforts, changes in services and the way they work, London's teens still appear to have the worst access to effective sexual health information and education.
The paper was drafted by a committee of 6 politicians, including the BNP (balk) and only featuring one woman. It is an update from a paper in 2005, and unfortunately there haven't been any great sweeping changes.
The report early on points to "negative gender stereotypes, insufficient sex and
relationship education in schools, a lack of local prioritisation
and a lack of regional leadership on the issue of young people’s
sexual health." as barriers in improvement of teenage sexual health in London. And goes on to recommend sexual health media campaigns and social marketing to combat these.
They also champion some kind of city wide leadership with "a senior London health professional should be appointed as a champion on sexual health and teenage pregnancy.
They should highlight good practice and encourage its implementation across London;"
Ever more interesting though, amongst the stats for rising and falling rates of infection, pregnancy and what not, is the look to the media for their need to take a more responsible stance on sexuality and sexual images.
Public health experts told us they are concerned about the way the media use sex and sexual relations for commercial purposes without consideration of how young people can be supported to make what can be life-changing choices.
We heard that negative attitudes towards women, such as those represented in some music video clips and the media, influence the way young people interact in relationships including their sexual ones.37 These gender inequalities impact on young
people’s ability to negotiate safe sex and respect within relationships.
At the same time, the NHS could use the media more effectively when conducting sexual health campaigns, as the wide range of messages being sent out can be confusing.
The report winds up with specific recommendations-
The Committee makes specific recommendations to address the barriers to improving young people's sexual health in London:
* Sex and relationship education should be a core component of the soon-to-be
mandatory personal, social and health education curriculum
* Pan-London branding and improved sharing of good practice and joint working for
the chlamydia screening programme and sexual health media campaigns.
* The Mayor's forthcoming Health Inequalities Strategy should include measures to
improve young Londoners' sexual health and reduce rates of teenage pregnancy.
* A sexual health champion should be appointed to encourage the implementation of
good practice across the capital.
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