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London fails test on teen sexual health

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The sexual health of some young Londoners remains the worst in the country, according to a report from the London Assembly.

It found that 16 to 24-year-olds accounted for nearly half of all STIs diagnosed in London’s GUM clinics.

Additionally, the capital still also has a poor record on teenage pregnancy rates in many areas, suggests the report, published this week by the assembly’s health and public services committee.

It showed that the teenage pregnancy rate for London as a whole has decreased recently but rates in 18 boroughs remain higher than the national average and more than one in four boroughs has failed to reduce their teenage pregnancy rate at all.

Boroughs with the highest rates include Southwark and Lewisham, whereas Richmond and Kingston maintain the lowest rates.

‘Teenage pregnancy conception rates in some London boroughs remain the highest in the country and success in reducing them is mixed. Among young Londoners, the rates of STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes remain higher than national rates and continue to increase,’ the report warned.

Included in its recommendations, the report called for a leading health professional to be appointed as sexual health champion for London.

Liz Davies, director of Marie Stopes International (UK and Europe), welcomed the suggestion. ‘Appointing a champion may assist in ensuring that sexual health is prioritised and addressed consistently across London, and further addressed at a political level,’ she said.

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