Figures show rise in teen pregnancies

A growing number of teenagers appear to be having sex without using contraception, a government minister has claimed.

Beverley Hughes, children and young people's minister, made the comments after new figures revealed that the number of teenage pregnancies in England has risen for the first time since 2002.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data show that the rate of conception among 15 to 17-year-olds increased from 40.9 per 1,000 women in 2006 to 41.9 in 2007.

Ms Hughes said that the figures were "disappointing" and admitted: "The evidence suggests that more teenagers may have been engaging in risky behaviour and not using contraception."

She added: "Our strategy is to encourage teenagers to delay early sexual activity, but to use contraception when they do become sexually active."

The government has launched a new £20.5 million package to promote contraception and improve awareness of the risks associated with having unprotected sex.

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