Page last updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Counselling on alcohol key to teens’ sexual health
When health care providers are talking with adolescents about sexual health, alcohol must be a part of the conversation, conclude two researchers from a UK based survey of boys’ and girls’ attitudes about sexual relationships.

“We must ensure that alcohol education is a key element of sex education and help young people to realise the vulnerability to sexual ill health alcohol abuse can create,” commented Dr. Mark Hayter of the University of Sheffield in the UK, who conducted the research with Dr. Christina Harrison of Doncaster Primary Care Trust.

The researchers conducted 10 focus groups with 35 14 to 16-year-olds. The teens were attending a sexual health clinic based at a youth club serving a “socially deprived” area with a high rate of teen pregnancy. Five groups were all girls, and the rest were all boys.

Analysing responses to various scenarios, where boys accept they would use alcohol to make a girl more likely to engage in sex, the resarchers conclude “helping young people to approach drinking sensibly should be a key element of sexual health promotion,” given that alcohol and sex are “inextricably linked.”

Source: Journal of Clinical Nursing, November 2008. Published 7 November 2008, doi:10.1136/bmj.a2155

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