28 November 2007
Although young people are the focus of some sexual health services people of all ages need help and advice with their sexual health. New results from an audit(i) of fpa’s national helpline(ii) show that it is not just teenagers and those in their twenties and thirties that are in need of advice and support about sexual health. Over a quarter of callers (27 per cent) to the helpline were aged over 35 and almost 10 per cent were aged over 45.
Of those aged 45 and over, 42 per cent of callers asked about STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and STI services whilst 31 per cent wanted to know about contraceptive methods and services. People in their fifties and sixties are embarking on new relationships and need the same support and advice as those younger than them. Whilst the youngest caller to the helpline was 14 the eldest was 68.
Sexual wellbeing was also a particular concern for callers aged over 45, with 18 per cent phoning about this. Sexual wellbeing includes any concerns about sexual behaviour, relationships or self-image.
Anne Weyman, Chief Executive fpa said: “Having the confidence to communicate with a partner about sexual health is a skill that will be needed throughout a person’s life. Whilst it is important that young people are given comprehensive sex and relationships education more needs to be done to support people at every stage of their lives.”
Lynn Hearton, Helpline & Information Services Manager, fpa said: “In society the sexuality of older people is sometimes ignored in favour of young people’s sexual health needs. It is hugely important that we support people by providing accessible and up to date information about sexual health. Only then will people have the confidence to make the right choices for themselves.”
The audit also asked callers to define what ethnicity they were from. The majority of callers (84 per cent) were white but the remaining 16 per cent of callers represented every ethnicity in Britain.
“It is incredibly positive that we are getting calls from people of every age and from every community,” Lynn continued. “It shows that people from all backgrounds and cultures feel able to use the helpline and want information about sexual health.”
Nearly half (44 per cent) of all callers to fpa’s helpline were from the south east. Of this, just under a third of all callers (30 per cent) were from London.
Call the FPA helpline, Sexual Health Direct helpline on 0845 122 8690 or visit fpa’s website for a wide range of help and advice around sexual health.
For further information please contact fpa’s press office on 020 7608 5265/5264.
Mobile 07958 921060.
fpa (Family Planning Association) is the only registered charity working to improve the sexual health and reproductive rights of all people throughout the UK.
(ii) fpa’s Sexual Health Direct gives confidential advice on contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy choices and abortion. It answers over 55,000 enquiries a year from health professionals and the public in England.