Friday, November 13, 2009

chlamydia, koalas and killer sex education

Yesterday's Telegraph carried a story by Kate Devlin, the paper's Medical Correspondent, about the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, which tests people for the undetectable sexually-transmitted disease in bars and nightclubs, among other settings (see below) wasting £17 million.

Huntingdon Connexions logoThe screening campaign is a textbook exercise in wasting money. For example, one strand of the initiative is to send testing kits to under-25's who requested them, and asking for them to be sent back. So, last year, Huntingdon Connexions sent out 360 testing kits. 3 were returned.

I'm not trying to minimise the threat chlamydia poses, nor the misery that can be caused by the infertility it can lead to if not treated. Indeed, its danger was underlined this week with the revelation that an outbreak of the disease is threatening Australia's Koala population with extinction.

What I'm saying is that the Government's chlamydia strategy goes beyond farce into a sinister study of the mindset of middle-aged men (predominantly) who wish to sexualise our children by stealth - witness "concerned council workers at Bournemouth Borough Council" setting up a mobile scheme where children as young as 13 could be tested for chlamydia. Actually, in recent months I had a conversation with a Cambridgeshire school nurse who was trying to work out how to get twelve-year-old children tested at the school disco. When I countered that this could be seen as conconing sexual activity on the part of people who could not consent to it (the minimum age at which consent for anything is legal in England and Wales is 13), her colleague hushed her up.

this is how the government tries to dissuade our children from early sexThe tragedy of all this is that the Government is packaging it with a campaign to delay early sex. You don't dissuade kids having sex by concomitantly giving them condoms, as in the C-Card scheme. You get there by starting from the position that some things are objectively right and others objectively wrong, but reinforcing compassion for individuals who for whatever reason fall short of the mark (as I betimes do in various ways). For instance, at the Roman Catholic secondary school I attended, the SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) Group's major activity was raising funds to present teenage mums with baby clothes and toys.

So what went wrong?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Lord Sacks, Britain's Chief Rabbi), makes a compelling case in The Dignity of Difference:
click to read a review of the bookOne of the most important ideas of Harvard political philosopher John Rawls is that of "public reason", the process by which people in political debate use a language and logic accessible to all so that we can - in the prophet Isaiah's phrase - "reason together". The idea of reasoning together was dealt a fateful blow in the twentieth century by the collapse of moral language, the disappearance of moral language, the disappearance of "I ought" and its replacement by "I want", "I choose", "I feel". Obligations can be debated. Wants, choices and feelings can only be satisfied or frustrated.
click to see the whole leaflet
Case in point: part of the campaign to delay early sex is a leaflet entitled "R U Ready?" which contains a self-assessment questionnaire for children to decide whether it is in their interests to start a sexual relationship, which can then be "scored" in the manner of a magazine quiz (click the pic on the left to view the whole leaflet) . On the back there's a section headed "Other help", the first entry in which is the Brook Helpline, attached to the abortion service, whose murderous wheels are oiled by the blood of children, whom abortion destroys as surely as chlamydia kills koalas.

will you still love me tomorrow? click to see the whole leaflet


  1. Though not surprised, I am digusted with that questionare. The very idea that a child... yes child!!.... could decide whether or not to have intercourse based on 11 questions with no discussions is perposterous.
    I looked at the scoring too. re:#11-- More points if you have already examined eachother and learned what the other likes! oh, kudos! In other words, "If you have had some foreplay already, you might be "ready"!
    Sorry to be so blunt, but this truly 'bites'.

  2. Yup, you're right, it bites. I honestly can't think of anything to add to what you've said.

  3. Hi,

    1 in 4 sexually active teenagers become infected with an STD every year, in the United States alone. Now, more than ever, we need to join together to fight this growing issue. As I read through your website, it is clear that you share the same passion for STD/STI awareness. We here, at, understand the importance of STD/STI prevention and treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We can not reach every teenager, but together we can try.
    If you need more information please mail me with the subject line as your URL.

    Thnak You,
    Sharon Vegoe

  4. Hi Sharon,

    thanks for your comment - I appreciate it when people take the time to wite a few lines.

    I've had a look through your site and, given the subject matter of the post we're both writing about, pressed the tag "sexually diseases", and found ricketts, epilepsy, yellow fever and multiple sclerosis listed. I can only link to sites with precise info - please feel free to contact me when you've cleaned things up a bit.

  5. This is something that we all should be really careful about as this can affect anyone and is life changing.

  6. Hi VO, thanks for the comment; shame about the name...

    Chlamydia can't affect anybody at all, sexual activity is necessary. Which is why I'm disappointed and aghast at the abusive sex-ed policies of the last government.


Please feel free to leave a comment - Frugal Dougal.