Condom cards for sex shy teens

YOUNGSTERS are being offered free condoms in a discreet new sexual health campaign to cut infections and unintended pregnancies.

YOUNGSTERS are being offered free condoms in a discreet new sexual health campaign to cut infections and unintended pregnancies.The new Somerset Condom Card, or C-Card, is being promoted as a way for young people to pick up condoms and get advice without embarrassment.To get a C-Card, young people have an informal chat with a trained professional on topics like how to use condoms, how to deal with unwanted peer pressure and whether they are ready for sex.The card entitles them to 10 batches of condoms available from a range of places, including Cheddar Medical Centre.The multi-agency service will be available at Axbridge Youth Club by the end of the month and at the computer club in Church Street, Wedmore, soon.Health promotion manager Karen Butt said: "Under 25s are most at risk of a sexual infection. As many as one in ten young men and women have chlamydia, an infection which does not have symptoms but has long termsproblems. "It is really important people access sexual health services. One of the main problems for young people getting those services is confidentiality, where in small communities they might bump into someone they know, like an aunt in a doctor's reception for example."Another issue is access. Sex health services are often located in main towns and can be quite tricky to get to."The aim of C-Card is to combine a sexual health service with services young people are already using outside a medical setting, like the county youth service, Connexions and the Somerset Rural Youth Project."In Cheddar, the young people's clinic runs from 4-5pm on Thursdays and is particularly aimed at pupils popping out of school to use it."It is set up specifically to deal with young people to make them feel comfortable. The staff are all experienced in dealing with young people and the setting is more youth friendly than a normal doctor's waiting room."The C-Card has been developed by youth workers, health professionals and voluntary agencies as well as young people themselves. It is funded by the Somerset Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board.In a pilot study carried out in Yeovil, 450 young people signed up to the C-Card.

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