Sex not recommended for under 17 year olds
- By: Amina Hussain
Healthcare professionals should be communicating to under 17 year olds that it is medically unwise to have sex, according to Dr Stammer, a general practice tutor at St George's Hospital Medical School, London. His controversial statement was recently reported in the Postgraduate Medical Journal (1999;75:641-2) and comes at a time of increasing unease about the unremittingly high rate of teenage pregnancies in the United Kingdom-the highest in western Europe, with more than 8000 unplanned pregnancies per year among girls aged under 17 years.
Dr Stammer is dismissive of modern society's apparent view that “so long as you're in love, teenage sex is OK,” which merely glosses over the potentially harmful consequences. Similarly, he says that evidence supporting increased promotion of contraceptives to cut unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases “owed more to spin than substance.” He cites the example of an American study (Family Plannning Perspectives 1997;29:123-7) purporting to show