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Health clinics in schools could cut teenage pregnancy and STIs

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Young people are more likely to use sexual health services if there is a dedicated health clinic at their school, research has shown.

A pilot scheme evaluated by the University of the West of England successfully accessed ‘hard to reach’ groups including boys and vulnerable young people.

UWE researcher Debra Salmon assessed the experiences of users of an outreach scheme in 16 schools in deprived areas of Bristol.

Nurses or youth workers provided advice and treatment including contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and tests for sexually transmitted infections.

Attendances rose to around 1500 per quarter during the 15-month evaluation period, with a 38:42 ratio of boys to girls. The ratio of boys rose to 48% if youth workers as well as nurses were available to give advice.

Ms Salmon, from UWE’s faculty of life sciences, said: ‘61% of young people we surveyed said they attended because it was at school and easy to access and that they would not have attended alternative provision.’

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