Action needed to combat sexual health crisis

The UK's healthcare professionals are being urged by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) to ensure that the level of Britain's sexual health does not decline further.

Nice has produced new guidelines on how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tackle the number of under-18 conceptions by encouraging more one-to-one interaction with those who are seen as at-risk.

In particular, sexual health history can be seen as a key identifier in assessing whether someone is deemed to be more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy or be exposed to STIs.

"Since 1990, people are having sex for the first time at a younger age, a greater proportion of people have multiple partners and a greater proportion of men report having had a same-sex partner," the director of Nice's Centre for Public Health Excellence, Professor Mike Kelly, said.

He added: "But something can be done to improve the sexual health of the population, and this guidance from Nice will help health professionals working in the NHS and others working with young people to understand which one-to-one interventions are effective and how they should be used particularly with those at high risk."

The new guidelines include recommendations that patients with an STI are encouraged to ensure their partners are tested and treated as well as using midwives and health visitors to ensure that younger women are provided with ongoing sexual health support.

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Action needed to combat sexual health crisis
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