School nurse investment could tackle rise in sexually transmitted infections - RCN
Urgent investment in school nursing could tackle the rising the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in young adults, senior nurses have said.
Urgent investment in school nursing is needed to tackle the rising the number of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in young adults, senior nurses have said.
The RCN has backed a call by the Local Government Association (LGA) for compulsory sex and relationship education (SRE) for secondary school pupils.
The LGA, which represents local councils, is concerned the number of STI diagnoses rise once people have left school, with 141,060 new diagnoses for 20-24 year olds in 2015, compared with 78,066 for those 15-19 years old.
Age-appropriate lessons are already mandatory in council maintained schools, but not in secondary academies or free schools – where more than two million children are educated.
RCN professional lead for children and young people Fiona Smith said all young people should have access to ‘good quality sex education’.
She added: ‘School nurses are perfectly placed to deliver effective sex education, yet their number has declined 10% since 2010.
‘Urgent investment in school nursing could have a real impact on the rise in STIs among 19-24 year olds and give young people the best chance of leading happy and healthy lives.’
LGA well-being Board chair Izzi Seccombe, said: 'The lack of compulsory SRE in academies and free schools is storing up problems for later on in life, creating a ticking sexual health time bomb, as we are seeing in those who have recently left school.’
Though it has called for compulsary SRE teaching, it added that parents should be given the option of removing their children from the lessons.
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