Health Watchdog says Councils in England should give Under 16s Free Condoms

PrintUnder 16s should be able to get free condoms, according to the health watchdog.

It wants to help stop the spread of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

The draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) say councils in England should make condoms available to 13 to 25-year-olds.  It is also recommending giving condoms to gay men, who are at higher risk of infection.

There were around 435,000 new diagnoses of STIs in England last year.  Most were among people aged 16 to 24, and gay men.

Cases of syphilis increased by 76% between 2012 and 2015, while gonorrhoea rose by 53%.

Condoms can protect against STIs including HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.  But Nice says the cost is putting people off buying them, leading to unprotected sex.

Many councils already run schemes like C-Card that entitle teenagers to free supplies and Nice says all councils should fund similar services, as well as providing easy to access information on sexual health services.

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