Beds, Herts & Bucks

Free-condoms-for-teenagers campaign in Bedfordshire

A card which gives young people access to free condoms has been launched across Bedfordshire.

The "C-card" aims to make access to condoms and sexual health advice "fuss free" and of minimal embarrassment.

Organisers hope the campaign will reduce teenage pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted infections in young people.

"Addressing these issues is a priority for us," said Sue Burridge from NHS Bedfordshire.

"The C-card deals with sexual health matters in a positive way by giving appropriate advice, support and contraception to the teenager, whether they are already sexually active or perhaps thinking about sex or entering a relationship."

Safe and responsible

Before any condoms are issued, young people must have an informal and confidential talk with a trained member of staff.

Following this, they will be handed one of two specifically designed C-cards.

The card for under 16s is valid for six visits only, with stamps collected on each visit.

They will then be asked to return for an assessment at one of the registration sites.

The card for 16 to 24-year-olds is a different colour and carries the message "Gonna Play, Play Safe" on the back, rather than a stamp section.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed the number of conceptions in women aged under 18 was 38,259 in 2009 in England and Wales.

Nearly half [48.8%] of conceptions to women aged under 18 in 2009 led to a legal abortion.

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