An increasing number of young people in the UK are acknowledging the importance of sexual health, a new survey has suggested.
The research, conducted by Populus for the Department of Health, found that many young people view the discussion of sexual health as more important for their relationship than meeting a lover's friends or family.
Only 40 per cent of respondents said that meeting friends was a strong indicator of a relationship's long-term viability.
However, 70 per cent of people said that talking openly about sexual history and discussing sexually transmitted disease (STI) tests together was a key sign that the couple would last.
Despite the findings, respondents often failed to find the confidence needed to open up to their partners with 73 per cent reporting that they have never raised the topic with a new partner before having sex for the first time.
Public health minister Gillian Merron commented: "STIs can be a difficult subject to talk about, but it's encouraging that young couples are starting to see beyond that."
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