Good Sexual Health Must Be A Priority
Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey has welcomed a paper published by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) about sexual health.
The NICCY report highlights the need to develop appropriate sexual health services for young people and calls for the implementation of a sexual health strategy.
Commenting on the report, the Minister said: "There is no doubt that sexual health in Northern Ireland is poor. Teenage pregnancies rates are high, but have been decreasing, while the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are growing, resulting in greater demand for services.
"The NICCY report highlights the need for a sexual health strategy. My Department has developed a Sexual Health Promotion Strategy which I hope to publish before the summer recess, subject to Executive approval. The strategy aims to improve, protect and promote the sexual health and wellbeing of the population, with young people under 25 years, especially those who are looked after or leaving care, identified as a priority group."
Targets included in the Strategy include: increasing the number of teenagers delaying sexual activity; reducing the rate of births to teenage mothers; reducing the incidence of STIs; and reducing the access time to Genito Urinary Medicine GUM clinics to two working days.
"The Minister continued: "The strategy focuses on four areas - prevention, training, services and research. It recognises the need for positive and accurate information about sexual health and emphasises the importance of respect and responsibility.
"It is vital that young people have access to information about sexual health so that they can make informed choices. It is also essential that services are in place for those who need them. To that end, I have made an extra