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'Untrustworthy' sexual health websites warning

12th September 2011

A poll has found young people are bypassing official health services by using the internet to search for information about sexual health.

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The Information Standard, a scheme backed by the government in order to make improvements to the accuracy of health data, asked 1,200 18-24 year-olds to fill in a survey.

The results of the poll showed 80% of respondents used the internet to find out information without knowing whether the sites they visited were authentic or not.

Almost two-thirds of respondents said they had never had a sexual health screening.

The Information Standard said it was essential that young people were aware of which sites they could trust and that they went to websites which had accurate information, such as those created by the NHS or major charities.

Ann Robinson, director of public awareness at the Information Standard, said: "We want all young people to understand how to spot a trustworthy site. Just because it ranks high in the search engine, for example, does not mean that it will provide informed advice."

Dominic Edwardes, of the Terrence Higgins Trust charity, said: "Sexually transmitted infection rates are worryingly high amongst young people, accounting for more than half of all new diagnoses in England in 2010.

"To reduce these figures we need to make sure that young people are equipped with trustworthy advice and understand how to have safe protected sex." 

 

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