’Condom cards’ for teenagers as young as 13 are to be given out at schools, youth centres and community halls across Derbyshire.
The scheme is being promoted at Chesterfield College today by sexual health experts from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust.
Teens will be able to collect free condoms, lubrication and ‘dams’ by showing a plastic ‘C-Card’ issued to them when they receive safe sex advice.
Fifty-five sites across the county, including Bolsover Youth Clubs , Shirebrook Children’s Centre, Springwell Community College and Ripley Mobile Youth Bus will be offering youngsters who are, or thinking of becoming, sexually active confidential access to contraception.
Tracey Palmer, young people’s services co-ordinator for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “The scheme aims not only to make condoms more acceptable and accessible, but also to overcome the barriers that prevent young people from accessing sexual health services and encourage longer-term sexual health awareness and behaviour.”
She added “The scheme is confidential, too. Workers are trained to be approachable, friendly, non-judgemental and confidential with all young people who want to talk about sex, and what services are available to them.”
The campaign was first launched last year and since then 2,374 C-Cards have been issued and over 27,000 condoms distributed across Derbyshire.
The news sparked a lively debate on Derbyshire Times Facebook site.
Helen Orwin said she “totally disagreed” with the scheme.
Tom Burton added: “In my opinion, you could give free stuff out for years but it still won’t decrease teenage pregnancies.”
Mike Richardson said: “What WILL stop teenage pregnancies is not being so damn British and prudish about the whole thing.”
Sarah Brown added: “My son is 13 and thankfully he is a little old fashioned compared to teenagers nowadays. Having sex is something I doubt he ever thinks about.”
Emily Barrie added: “If my son came to me at 13 and said “mum I’m having sex” I don’t know if I’d be fine with it, but I would make sure he was being safe.”
Oliver Parker said: “I work with a lot of young people and most of the time they know as much as adults when it comes to sex. The sad part is most of them aren’t responsible enough to be protected.”
In an poll on Derbyshire Times’ website 73 per cent of voters said they did not agree with children as young as 13 being handed condoms.