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Teen sexual health toolkit unveiled

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Primary care nurses are being given a new sexual health toolkit designed to help them when advising teenagers.

Following research conducted with young people, a team of sexual health experts put together the “Engaging Teenagers about Contraception” kit to deal with key concerns.

They found that many teenagers were unaware of the range of contraceptives available. More than half thought there were only between five and eight types, when there are actually 15.

Another conclusion drawn from the research was that certain attitudes, such as the fear of embarrassment, were often stopping teenagers talking to their doctors about sexual health.

Only 56% said they would feel comfortable discussing contraception with their GP, despite 69% saying they thought they were the best source of information.

Dr Paula Briggs, lead clinician at the community sexual health service ISIS (Improving Sexual health In Sefton), said: “The toolkit provides a host of practical tips for GPs and sexual health professionals, ranging from advice on active listening, to recommending that teenagers are shown examples of contraceptives so they can see the actual size of different types, such as the IUD or implant.

“It also provides a list of available resources that we and teenagers will find useful.”

The kit, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma, was introduced at the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare’s Current Choices conference, and will be distributed to GP surgeries and sexual health centres.

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