Sexual Health

Headlines

  • Chlamydia detection rates, a measure of disease control, are higher in Wakefield than they are nationally.
  • Only 40% of 13-14 year olds surveyed as part of the HRBQ said they know where to get condoms free of charge.
  • The proportion of children aged 13-14 in care who responded they were sexually active was double that of children who are not in care.

The Population

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are treatable; however they can lead to complications ranging from infertility, disability, cancer to premature death. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in England. It is most prevalent amongst sexually active young people and usually has no symptoms. Left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to serious long term complications including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

The Burden

The chlamydia detection rate amongst 15-24 year olds is a measure of chlamydia control activities. It represents infections identified (reducing risk of other infections in those patients and interrupting transmission on to others). Increasing detection rates indicates increased control activity and will reduce the prevalence of the condition. Chlamydia screening is recommended for all sexually active people under 25, annually and on partner change. The Department of Health, in consultation with Public Health England recommends that commissioners should be working towards achieving a detection rate of at least 2,400 per 100,000 15-24 year olds. Detection rates in Wakefield, at 2,161 per 100,000 in 2017, are higher than those in England (1,882) but lower than the regional average (2,244). The detection rate is also lower than it has been in recent years, but is a slight increase from 2016 (2,110 per 100,000).

 

 

Pupils were asked some sexual health related questions in the 2017 Children and Young People’s Survey. 4% of pupils aged 13 to 14 reported that they have had sexual intercourse, it also needs to be considered that 6% also stated that they ‘preferred not to answer’ the question. Children who said that they have had sexual intercourse were more likely to say that they have smoked e-cigarettes, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol occasionally or regularly and know where to get condoms free of charge.

Of those aged 13 to 14 years, 40% responded that they know where to get condoms free of charge, which is significantly fewer than in 2015, when 57% of pupils responded that they know where to get condoms free of charge.

The Inequality

The proportion of pupils who reported that they were sexually active was slightly higher for certain groups; 8% of 13 to 14 year olds who stated that they were in care and 5% of pupils who are in single-parent families reported that they were sexually active.

Smaller proportions of children from certain groups reported that they know where to get condoms free of charge; 20% of children from the least deprived areas of the district and 32% of children from an ethnic minority.

Publications

Further information on sexual health is available on the JSNA website, under the ill health section and the Children and Young People’s Survey reports:
Children’s Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire