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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

UNITED KINGDOM: Britain Has Third-Highest Proportion of Sexually Active Teens


The Guardian (London) (04.25.12) - Thursday, April 26, 2012

Britain ranks third-highest for early teenage sexual activity, according to new studies published in The Lancet. This research and a just-released UNICEF report both make the case for more attention to the needs of youths.

Data from 40 comparably affluent countries ranked England fourth-highest for adolescents who had been drunk by age 13; Wales ranked fifth, and Scotland eighth. Wales also ranked third for weekly drinking by 15-year-olds. England ranked fourth, with Scotland at eighth.

The United States' violent death rate for adolescents is 10 to 20 times greater than that of other developed countries; Britain ranked in the middle for this indicator. US binge- drinking rates were high, and its cannabis use rate topped all high-income countries supplying data.

Professor Susan Sawyer of Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Professor George Patton of the University of Melbourne in Australia maintain that earlier puberty and later marrying have delayed societal transition to adulthood, expanding years of experimentation, substance and alcohol abuse, and early and unsafe sex. Inadequate education and employment prospects also play a role.

The professors assert that "marketing of unhealthy products and lifestyles" targets young people, and that habits begun young result in 70 percent of premature adult deaths. The empowering benefits of social media were noted as coming with inherent potential harms like cyberbullying, pornography, sexually explicit texting, copycat suicides, self-harm, and sleep deprivation.

Upwards of 2.6 million 10- to 24-year-olds died in 2004. Most deaths were due to injuries (including traffic accidents and suicides); pregnancy and childbirth; communicable, nutritional, and perinatal diseases (like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS); and non-communicable diseases (like diabetes and cancer). Most of these deaths were preventable.


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Information in this article was accurate in April 26, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.