Fewer teens falling pregnant, but Mansfield tops table

FEWER Nottinghamshire teenagers are becoming pregnant according to a report being considered by the county council’s health and wellbeing board tomorrow, Wednesday 6th March.

The report on sexual health and teenage pregnancies in Nottinghamshire highlights that the number of under 18s becoming pregnant has reduced by 13 percent since 2007.

Half of all conceptions in those aged under 18 occur in the top 35 most deprived wards in the county.

Nottinghamshire’s conception rate amongst the under 18s (32.9 percent) is lower than the English average (35.4) and the East Midlands average (34.5 percent).

The report also includes evidence of deprivation being linked to rates of sexually transmitted infections in the county.

The highest rates occur in Mansfield which is the most deprived district compared to the lower number in Rushcliffe which is the least deprived.

There has been an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with HIV in recent years (200 in 2007 and 310 in 2011) but local rates are still lower than the East Midlands and England rates.

Nottinghamshire County Council will be taking over the role of commissioning sexual health services in the county from this April.

The report outlines a list of recommendations to reduce sexual ill health and unwanted pregnancies, including:

• ensuring high quality sex and relation education in schools

• increasing awareness on sexual health issues amongst groups at risk, including young people

• developing a local programme to increase early diagnosis of HIV

• improving the availability of chlamydia screening

• ensuring emergency hormonal contraception is easily available through community pharmacies

• making long-acting reversible contraception more widely available.

Coun Martin Suthers, chairman of the health and wellbeing committee at the council, said: “Sexual health is an important issue for the county as infections can have long-term effects such as infertility and a higher risk of cervical cancer.

“It is a varied picture across the county with many sexual health issues reducing over recent years but more could be done to combat sexual infections in certain areas of the county.

“There are a raft of proposals which aim to focus on hotspots in the county where there are greater sexual health issues, help prevent infections and reduce conception rates amongst the under 18s.”