Pharmacy offers a safe sex’ message

PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 October 2007 | UPDATED: 21:49 29 May 2010

TEENAGERS are playing Russian roulette with their health by having unprotected sex, a Dunmow pharmacy has warned. Anup Morzaria, from Yogi Pharmacy, in the Market Place, Great Dunmow, said that sexually active teenagers in the town are running the risk of

TEENAGERS are playing Russian roulette with their health by having unprotected sex, a Dunmow pharmacy has warned.

Anup Morzaria, from Yogi Pharmacy, in the Market Place, Great Dunmow, said that sexually active teenagers in the town are running the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or becoming pregnant because they are not taking precautions.

The pharmacy offers the service of a private consultation room for people to talk to a pharmacist about contraception, STDs and pregnancy.

"We can offer advice about all sorts of things, but it would certainly be useful for young people who want more information about how to lead a safer sex life," said Mr Morzaria.

People who want to speak privately with a pharmacist do not need to make an appointment and can just walk in and ask.

According to the most recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics, 786 Essex teenagers under the age of 18 conceived in 2005, and just over half of them (52 per cent) had an abortion.

Mr Morzaria said: "Mistakes do happen and we want to ensure young girls don't risk pregnancy just because they are embarrassed about talking to their pharmacist about the morning-after pill."

Simon Moul, chairman of the Essex Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: "Most pharmacies now have consultation rooms so they can speak to pharmacists in private when they ask for this type of contraception.

"They can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, although it is better to take it within

24 hours, but it won't protect them against sexually transmitted infections."

Sixteen-year-olds can be embarrassed about talking to their parents about sex, believes Mr Moul. "They can even be put off talking to a GP because they don't want to make an appointment in case their parents find out.

"The service offered by pharmacists of a private consultation is an extremeley good alternative."

Legally, pharmacists can confidentially issue the morning-after pill to girls aged 16 and above, as in the case of family planning clinics.

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