More references to condoms, STDs needed in TV shows"

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London, Feb 21 (ANI): The British Government is set to ask TV bosses to include more references to contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases in their shows.

Officials are expected to say that their review of popular TV shows did not find enough sex scenes featuring the characters discussing contraceptives such as condoms.

They will reportedly say that "careful" analysis of 350 episodes of soap operas and comedies showed that only seven percent of sex scenes had the characters discussing safe sex.

A report, entitled Mis-selling Sex, to be released by the Department of Health, will call on telly writers to include more dialogue about condoms and plot lines featuring the results of unsafe sex such as unwanted pregnancies and disease.

It will also ask writers to use more slang words so that teens can connect with the dialogue.

The move comes after David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition, criticised pop singer Lily Allen last week for her sexually explicit lyrics, which he believed were unfit for children.

"Young people relate to the programmes they watch on TV, so it's important that they see both realistic and responsible portrayals of sex and contraception," the Telegraph quoted Gillian Merron, the Public Health Minister, as saying.

She added: "It's not for Government to say what happens on TV, but we can have conversations with broadcasters to help them have a more positive impact on attitudes to sex.

"I'm encouraged that some broadcasters are working to address these issues, and hope others will follow suit."

Her report assessed programmes popular with 16-24 year olds including EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Holby City, Home and Away and Neighbours.

American favourites like CSI, My Name is Earl, Grey's Anatomy, Lost and Desperate Housewives were also analysed.

Researchers discovered that a mere seven percent of sexual content featured discussions on safe sex. Of the 102 encounters of actual sex, only three couples used condoms.

Just 13 per cent of sexual encounters where contraception was not featured dealt with any kind of consequence, such as pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Of the 99 instances of unsafe sex, only nine characters regretted their behaviour, according to the report.

The report says that nearly 37 percent of youngsters turn to television for guidance on sex and relationships and almost 50 percent of young adults say they would feel more confident about using condoms if they were discussed more openly in the media.

The report was commissioned as part of the Government's "Sex. Worth Talking About" campaign, which has also seen a major television advertising campaign urging teens to use contraception. (ANI)

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