Saturday, October 3, 2015, 00:01 by Ariadne Massa
Just over half of those visiting the GU Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital this year played Russian roulette and indulged in unprotected sex, while another 35 per cent admitted to only “sometimes” using a condom, according to the latest figures.
Health Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne said in the first eight months of this year, 1,942 patients visited the Genitourinary Clinic.
“Unless we face up to the reality that unprotected sex outside of marriage is commonplace, and unless we discuss this in the open, youngsters are going to get their information from a variety of sources, which are not all validated,” Mr Fearne said when contacted.
This week Mr Fearne visited Freshers Week at the University of Malta to push across this message. He also visited the health promotion stand to endorse the message on safe sex as they distributed condoms to students.
Youngsters are going to get their information from a variety of sources, which are not all validated“The message that unprotected sex can lead to sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and unwanted pregnancies will not come across unless we acknowledge that many young people are promiscuous,” Mr Fearne said.
The availability of condoms in places frequented by young people must be a given, he added, and this had to happen hand in hand with better sex education, and with an honest discussion on the whole situation.
The landscape of STDs for the first eight months of this year is not looking encouraging and figures for the contagious gonorrhoea have already surpassed the whole of last year – 56 cases, compared to 53 in 2014.
The rate of other STDs has remained consistent with 119 cases of chlamydia between January and August, compared to 123 for all of 2014; while there were 39 of syphilis (45 in 2014).
The high rate of casual sex coupled with poor condom use – which emerge from the clinic’s figures year after year – expose a sense of complacency and youngsters’ failure to make sensibly informed decisions.
Last year’s report had highlighted the growing concern on anonymous sex: “In many cases it was impossible to trace the other person to get them checked for STDs since the sex was totally anonymous where no names were exchanged or perhaps remembered.”