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Teenage sexual health - 'Abandon your "ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" policies', CMF tells Government

Published: 20th May 2005

The Christian Medical Fellowship has called on the government to abandon its 'ambulance at the bottom of the cliff' policies on sexual health in the wake of a Brook survey showing that only one third of 16 to 18 year olds having sex bother to use a condom.

CMF General Secretary Peter Saunders said, ‘The government has persistently clung to promoting condoms as the main plank of its policy to counter the highest rates of teenage STIs (sexually transmitted diseases) in Europe, when what is really needed are policies aimed at behaviour change.’

“The best way to counter this epidemic effectively is to promote real behaviour change through such programmes as the very successful ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, Condoms) programme in Uganda or the Love for Life programme in Northern Ireland”.

’Brook chief executive Jan Barlow's statement that condoms are the only way for sexually active young people to protect themselves from STIs, is misleading and dangerous and will only fuel the epidemic further.’

’Condoms do not protect well against chlamydia and many studies have shown that even among consistent condom users infection rates are still around half those of inconsistent condom users. Condoms only reduce STI rates if rates of sexual intercourse and partner numbers do not increase, but they do not eliminate the risk. If the pregnancy rate with condoms in teenagers, even when consistently used, is around 10-15% the STI risk rate is going to be even higher. Safe sex is about the safety of your sexual partner more than whether you use condoms or not.

’Condoms are not the only way for sexually active people to prevent STIs. Abstinence and being mutually faithful to an uninfected partner are far more effective. They also do not necessitate using condoms.

For further information:

Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
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