Mixing alcohol and sex puts young people in the East of England at risk

DRINKING alcohol increases the chances of young people taking risks, including with their sexual health, according to new research from alcohol charity Drinkaware and sexual health charity Brook. More than one in ten (14 per cent) 16 and 17 year olds in

DRINKING alcohol increases the chances of young people taking risks, including with their sexual health, according to new research from alcohol charity Drinkaware and sexual health charity Brook.

More than one in ten (14 per cent) 16 and 17 year olds in the East of England had been drinking alcohol the first time they had sex without a condom and almost half (45 per cent) have friends who have had sex without a condom because they were drunk.

As part of a long term partnership, Drinkaware and Brook are joining forces over Christmas and the New Year to distribute packs to young people which contains information about alcohol, sexual health and personal safety. Research shows that teenage conceptions peak in December and January so the charities are reaching out to young people at a particularly risky time.

The 'Have fun. Be careful.' campaign will remind young people that drinking alcohol can affect their ability to assess risks, to use a condom if they choose to have sex and to make plans to get home safely after a night out.


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As well as receiving a campaign pack, which includes a condom and mobile phone credit, 16 and 17 year olds will also receive a text message on New Years Eve, reminding them to 'Have fun' and 'Be careful.' if they're celebrating.

The Drinkaware and Brook survey of 16 and 17 year olds in the East of England also shows that:

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* 15 per cent admit they would be more likely to have sex without a condom if they were drinking alcohol but two fifths (40 per cent) rarely or never carry condoms on a night out;

* One third (36 per cent) would be unlikely to have an STI test after having sex without a condom;

* One in five (20 per cent) get drunk at least three times a week;

* One third (34 per cent) walked home alone at night in the dark when drunk(4);

* Over one in 10 (11 per cent) had sex when they were drunk and regretted it afterwards.

Chief executive of Drinkaware, Chris Sorek, said: "We know that many 16 and 17 year olds in the East of England regularly get drunk and this can increase the chances of young people finding themselves in a difficult, often risky situation.

"Young people might think they know everything there is to know about alcohol, sex and how to look after themselves, but it is really important for us all to ensure they have the right advice and information to help avoid taking unnecessary risks.

"Providing advice over Christmas and New Year is especially important as this is when teenage conceptions are at their highest, but young people need to know that drinking to excess can make them vulnerable all year round.

"We hope the Drinkaware and Brook packs will help 16 and 17 year olds remember that drinking alcohol can mean doing something you might regret."

Brook's director of communications, Jules Hillier, said: "We know from what young people tell us that they come under pressure to have unsafe sex in many ways, including as a result of alcohol use, so we are delighted to be working with Drinkaware on the closely connected issues of alcohol and poor sexual health.

"This campaign enables us to provide targeted support to young people when they most need it and in ways we know they like. By working this way, we hope to help young people better understand the risks they take and the links between alcohol and unsafe sex.

"The 'Have fun. Be Careful' campaign reminds young people to have fun, and if they are going to have sex to be extra careful and to make sure they use contraception.

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