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Teenagers and the risks of sexually transmitted diseases: a need for the provision of balanced information.
  1. A Mellanby,
  2. F Phelps,
  3. C Lawrence,
  4. J H Tripp
  1. Department of Child Health, University of Exeter, UK.


    OBJECTIVE--Evaluation of teenagers' knowledge and understanding about sexually transmitted disease, conception and contraception. DESIGN--A questionnaire study. SETTING--Schools SUBJECTS--1025 teenagers aged 15/16 years (mean 16.00). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Scores attained in response to questions about sexually transmitted disease related to the sources of information given as most helpful. RESULTS--Teenagers have an incorrect understanding of the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. CONCLUSIONS--Teenagers may substantially underestimate their personal risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases following the promotion of information about HIV/AIDS. Apparently simple messages about HIV and AIDS given in mass media advertising programmes may have unwanted results and need to be balanced by appropriate professional interpretation to teenagers.

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