Over the last ten
years we have witnessed an unrelenting increase in the number of STIs
with some of the nasties, such as Syphilis, re-appearing for the first
time in over twenty years.
Today’s government has neglected teenagers in terms of health spending,
in favour of the more politically correct health issues.
Only a government whose first concern is political ideology, over and
above the individual could have allowed this situation to develop.
Who can be more needy of health care support than a young person
growing up in a new age of socially and sexually liberated confusion?
A new government needs to empower the voluntary sector and assist
teenagers to decode the difference between should and shouldn’t, right
and wrong, do and don’t. This can be achieved by removing the hit and
miss random delivery of sex education as taught within schools today.
Whilst at the same time committing resource and effort into protecting our young in terms of hard hitting national education / infection awareness programmes and campaigns.
We may think that teenagers today are exposed to a greater degree of sexual knowledge than ever before, and to a point this would be true; however they are still largely ignorant to the consequences of the behaviour they witness and emulate from TV, films, magazines and peers.
Whilst in opposition we stand by helpless as statistics for HPV, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV, Syphilis, to name but a few, infect and blight an entire generation.
In addition to the first steps, working with charities and the voluntary sector to standardise sex education within schools underpinned by a national hard hitting education/awareness programme, we need to make condoms, still the most effective barrier against most sexually transmitted diseases, free and easily available at every night-club, college, pub and university.
It needs a cross interdepartmental approach with a bridge spanning education and health, working in partnership, delivering against a rigid outcome criteria, the absolute deliverable being an increase in the number of healthy infection free teenagers and a reduction in the teenage pregnancy rate, no excuse acceptable.
After four years, the next Conservative government should be able to stand at the despatch box and announce with pride that we are the government which has demonstrated a serious duty of care towards a generation of teenagers, over and above political targets, and against a backdrop of historic neglect.