Monday, 6 December 2010
A Swansea-based initiative aimed at helping reduce teenage pregnancies has been hailed as an example for the rest of Wales to follow.
The Welsh Assembly Government has launched a new five-year plan to improve teenagers' sexual health and has highlighted services provided through Swansea Council's youth information service, Info-Nation, as a prime example of how best to get the message across to teenagers.
These services are provided by Swansea Council, in partnership with ABMU, NHS Trust, Swansea Public Health Team and the Terrence Higgins Trust.
They are leading the way in Wales by developing a range of services that help young people to get the support they need regarding their relationships, sexuality and sexual health, including teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
Info-Nation has a one-stop shop based in the city's Kingsway and offers a wide range of information, advice and support services including reliable, relevant information on healthy relationships, contraception, sexual health, emotional health and self esteem.
These include a confidential space to discuss relationships, access to condoms and learning how to use them safely, support from trained information workers as well as clinical services providing diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing and emergency contraception.
Last year Info-Nation answered more than 7,000 enquiries on relationships and sexual health through its one-stop shop, mainly from 14 to 17-year-olds. The team also provided workshops to almost 4,500 young people in schools and youth clubs.
Mike Day, Cabinet Member for Education, said: "Swansea's approach fits well with the Welsh Assembly's new plan to improve the advice and support given to young people to reduce teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)."
"Young people will make better decisions if they have the right information. It is important that we continue to provide services that support them in taking those decisions and acting responsibly."
The plan highlights the importance of prevention, education, individual responsibility, and access to healthcare services.
Jane Wilkinson, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: "It's important that individuals have the information, knowledge and skills to make informed choices. This plan will help individuals build the skills and confidence to talk about relationships and aims to address the stigma associated with STIs to encourage more people to get checked."
Source: Public Health Wales