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£4 million chlamydia for Christmas campaign

The government has described it's new sexual health campaign to urge young adults to use condoms when they are out 'on the pull' as 'hard-hitting'.

As the MHF has been pointing out for some time, sexually transmitted4.7MB versioninfections (STIs) such as chlamydia are spreading fast among 18 to 24 year olds. However, while apparently 90% of girls and 70% of boys have special 'pulling pants', fewer than 20% carry a condom.

Television, magazine and radio ads alongside on-line advertising will specifically target young men and women who are most at risk of infection. The TV ad shows couples getting together in scenarios where the name of an STI is clearly displayed on their clothing or jewellery, highlighting the stark reality that these infections are not easy to spot. Images used in the magazines and on-line advertising continue this theme, while radio adverts focus on the physical consequences of catching an STI.

The new TV advert will be on air from next Monday. It will be screened on satellite channels, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Magazine adverts will appear in key titles for the 18 to 24 year old market. Radio and on-line advertising will run from the 27th November. The campaign is initially scheduled to run for the pre-Christmas and Valentines periods — times of the year where rates of STI contraction are traditionally higher.

The new £4 million campaign is part of a wider government initiative to improve sexual health and tackle teenage pregnancy.

Launching the campaign Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said: 'Improving the nation's sexual health is a key Government priority and improving access times to sexual health clinics, chlamydia screening and this campaign will all help to drive down the number of cases of STIs.

'Some STIs like chlamydia are on the increase amongst 18 to 24 year-olds and it is vital that we deliver strong messages about using condoms to prevent them. The aim of this campaign is to make carrying and using a condom among this age group as familiar as carrying a mobile phone, lipstick or putting on a seat-belt. This is not about encouraging promiscuity, but saying to those who are already sexually active: sex without a condom is seriously risky, so always use one.

'The message of this campaign is that you can't tell just by looking whether someone has an STI. Some infections often have no noticeable symptoms and others cannot be cured, so taking responsibility for your own sexual health should always be your key priority.'

Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, baked the campaign saying: 'Using a condom is a very normal and completely essential part of any sexual relationship. The benefits of empowering young people — through this campaign - not only to know this fact but to act on it cannot be overestimated. Sustaining the campaign so it can make the biggest impact possible over the longest period of time will be key to its success."

Page created on November 13th, 2006

Page updated on December 1st, 2009