Sex warning for prom teenagers

HEALTH bosses are targeting Doncaster's school prom season in a bid to deal with the borough's teenage pregnancy problem.

Officials are trying to get the pregnancy rate among 15 to 17-year-olds down from 366 in 2008 to 208 this year.

Now hundreds of teenagers across the borough have been taking part in the It's Your Prom Night - Get it Right campaign, which has been launched by NHS Doncaster.

The campaign asks young people to discuss and make a list of 101 ways they can show someone they love them instead of having sex.

Suggestions put forward by pupils have included romantic walks on a beach, writing a poem and sending flowers.

Posters aimed at 16 and 18-year-olds in years 11 and 13 have been put up in schools and youth centres across the borough.

It is hoped that the publicity material which show a his and hers checklist for prom night including an unplanned pregnancy tick box, will raise awareness among teenagers of the risks of unprotected sex and reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Doncaster.

Teenage pregnancy rates in Doncaster were reduced by 12 per cent between 1998 and 2008, from 73.68 conceptions per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17 in 1998 to 64.85 per 1,000 in 2008.

Bronwynn Slater, young people's public health improvement coordinator, said: "Prom night can be a very special and emotional occasion for teenagers and they often want to share these moments with their boyfriend or girlfriend. But there are lots of different ways that they can show their feelings for each other without having sex.

"Research tells us that many young people regret and don't enjoy early sex. This delaying approach offers ways of helping them meet emotional needs through means other than sex - for example through supportive friendships, until they feel genuinely ready. Delay aims to give them the awareness, skills and self-esteem to make positive choices for themselves."

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