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Website criticised for 'denying under-16s sex advice'

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

An online testing kit for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has been criticised for excluding under-16s.

Kent County Council public health specialist Wendy Jeffreys told the public health cabinet committee that the freetest.me website provides test kits and contraception to people aged 16 and over.

But Cllr Dr Lauren Sullivan said: "While we don't want our young people having sex under age, if they do choose to, they need to have all the facts, information and support from trained youth workers or sexual health advisers."

Kent was found as one of the worst counties for STI screening of young people, with one of the highest rates for under-18 pregnancies, according to a report by Public Health England.

Dr Sullivan said: "Access to free contraceptives need to be young-person-friendly, as walking into a clinic to get condoms or advice can be intimidating and off-putting."