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Risk-Taking Young Urged To Carry Condoms

A government sexual health campaign is targeting young adults to carry condoms when they are out 'on the pull'. Their focus is mainly on 18 to 24-year-olds. //Currently only 20% of people in this age group are reported to carry condoms on a night out.

The £4m campaign carries a warning of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia that are fast rising among young people.

The drive has been backed by health groups but pointed out that a further £46m had been pledged to the campaign.

Advertisements have been planned to be released on television and radio, in magazines and online.

The TV ad, which will be aired from 20 November, advertises couples, with the name of an STI clearly displayed on clothing or jewellery, that aims to demonstrate that in real life, such infections are not so easy to spot.

Public health minister Caroline Flint said: 'Improving the nation's sexual health is a key government priority and improving access times to sexual health clinics, chlamydia screening and this campaign will all help to drive down the number of cases of STIs.

'Some STIs like chlamydia are on the increase amongst 18 to 24 year-olds and it is vital that we deliver strong messages about using condoms to prevent them.

'The aim of this campaign is to make carrying and using a condom among this age group as familiar as carrying a mobile phone, lipstick or putting on a seat-belt.

'This is not about encouraging promiscuity, but saying to those who are already sexually active: sex without a condom is seriously risky, so always use one.'

Although Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, welcomed the campaign, he said: 'Only £4 million has been committed to this campaign so far, although the government had promised to spend £50 million over three years.

"It is vitally important that the government keep its promise to spend the additional £46 million over the remaini ng two years.

"Even in a time of budgetary constraint, to cut back on a sexual health campaign is the worst kind of false economy."

Nick Partridge, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Ongoing condom awareness campaigns are a vital part of improving sexual health.

Nick Partridge, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Ongoing condom awareness campaigns are a vital part of improving sexual health.

"We must also make sexual health services easier and faster to get in to, then we'll see our sky-high rates of STIs begin to fall."

However Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, warned: 'Historically, whenever there has been a shift away from hormonal contraception like the pill, towards barrier methods like condoms, rates of unplanned pregnancy have risen as a result.'

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