Number of teens with STDs rises
Seven children aged younger than 15 caught sexually transmitted diseases in 2011.
Six of them, all in the 10-14 age bracket, got confirmed cases of chlamydia, health officials revealed yesterday as they urged parents to teach their children better sexual education.
Five girls and one boy among that age group suffered from chlamydia, one boy had gonorrhoea, while an eighth child reported another disease which may have been contracted sexually.
Among the 15-19 age category, 99 caught chlamydia, 30 got gonorrhoea and three herpes, according to the statistics, released by the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.
The number of cases among people of all ages of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes, HIV and syphilis all increased during 2011, with people under 25 accounting for more than half of them.
Gonorrhoea saw the biggest rise, with 79 reports last year, up from 31 the previous year and 24 in 2009. The total number suffering gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes, HIV and syphilis rose from 512 to 600; a further 205 people reported other diseases which may have been caught sexually.
Assessment officer Dy-Juan DeRoza expressed concern at the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among young people.
“Not just sexual education, but life skills education needs to be enhanced,” Ms DeRoza told
The Royal Gazette.
“Parents need to be more active in talking about sexual health and reproduction. I’m thinking it’s not happening enough. “They are learning more about it from other teenagers and sometimes that’s not well informed.”
Ms DeRoza was speaking as part of sexual and reproductive health awareness week, which is currently being observed to mark Valentine’s Day.
She said she hopes progress can be made by radio adverts, interviewing high school students on sexual health, and handing out condoms and information leaflets at stores such as Secrets, Exotic Creations and Eve’s Garden.
“I think it’s down to how we turn education and knowledge into behaviour,” she said. “The information is available, it just needs to be put out there.”
The Department of Health said of awareness week: “This observance is held around Valentine’s Day to encourage persons to consider the importance of sexual and reproductive health.”
Government’s ‘Have the Conversation’ campaign encourages people to talk about sexual health with their partners, relatives, and healthcare providers.
It advises use of ‘The Five P’s of Sexual Health’: partners, practices, prevention of pregnancy, past history of sexually transmitted infections and prevention of sexually transmitted infection.
The campaign’s statement says: “Most people with STIs are not aware of any symptoms. Left untreated, STIs can have serious complications (eg infertility, cancer, AIDS).
“STIs can be avoided by not having sex. If you are having sex, you can reduce your risk of STIs by limiting the number of people you have sex with and using condoms every time.
“STIs can be transmitted through oral sex. Before beginning a sexual relationship, you and your partner(s) should be checked for STIs, including HIV.
“If you are/become infected with an STI, it is important to tell your partner(s).”
For more advice, speak to your doctor or call the Communicable Disease Control Clinic on 278-6442 or the Maternal Health and Family Planning Clinic on 278-6441.