Commenting on figures released on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Scotland, Dr Charles Saunders, chairman of the BMA's Scottish Consultants Committee, said:
"Today's figures show that in Scotland the number of STIs diagnosed continues to rise, with almost a quarter of all acute STI diagnoses being in those aged less than 20. This demonstrates the need for improving the education of young people to help prevent the further spread of these infections.
"It is clear from government statistics that children are becoming sexually active at a younger age so it is imperative that we do more to inform young people of the risks of contracting STIs and educate them on how to prevent them. The BMA firmly believes that children should start sex and relationship education at primary school so that they gain the confidence to delay becoming sexually active and when they do decide to have sex, that they do it for the right reasons and take the necessary precautions."
BMA Scotland believes that in order to meet increasing patient need much more must be done to improve sexual health services, particularly for young people. Dr Saunders added:
"The increased incidence of STIs flags up the importance of education and prevention but also brings with it challenges for the NHS in treating these patients. Sexual health services need adequate and sustained funding to enable them to plan and deliver comprehensive services as locally as possible.
"Improving sexual health services is an essential part of disease prevention. Failure to treat infections promptly means that untreated patients who remain sexually active can continue to spread STIs. Ensuring that people have access to the right help at the right time is crucial."
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