News Thursday February 9, 2012

Rise in contraceptive implants for the under 15s

Statistics have shown that the number of teenage girls under the age of 15 who have been given contraceptive implants has risen significantly over the last five years.

As the news that the mother of a 13 year old girl discovered she had been given the contraceptive implant - which is 4cm long and is inserted under the skin - without her consent, figures show that the number of girls under 15 who have received the contraceptive has more than doubled in only five years.

It has recently been revealed by NHS data that an estimated 7,400 girls aged 15 or under (under the age of consent) were given the implant, or contraceptive injection, in 2011, in comparison to almost 3,000 in 2005/6.

As part of a government initiative to promote sexual health, nine schools in Southampton offered the implant to young, female pupils, along with information on other available contraception - and it may be not be too long before the proposal spreads to more schools across the country.

Whilst a representative from the Solent NHS Trust asserts that they are "committed to ensuring local young ¬people are able to access clinically appropriate sexual health support, advice and treatment to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections", others fear that too much will only encourage young girls to engage too early in sexual activity.

Director of the Family Education Trust, Norman Wells, warned how "[h]ealth authorities should be looking for ways of discouraging young people from engaging in sexual activity in the first place. The last thing they should be doing is fuelling the flames of promiscuity."

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