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Sexual health: key points

  • The teenage pregnancy rate has seen a consistent decline over recent years in all age groups. In 2014, there were 4.2 pregnancies per 1,000 females under 16 years, down from 6.9 in 2010. The rates in the older age groups have also reduced, with the under 18 year age group dropping from 35.2 per 1,000 in 2010 to 22.1 per 1,000 in 2014 and the under 20 year age group from 48.5 per 1,000 in 2010 to 34.1 per 1,000 in 2014.
  • In 2015, 15,000 diagnoses of genital chlamydia were reported to Health Protection Scotland (HPS), a decrease of 8% on that reported in 2014 (16,320). This is the lowest annual total in the last 10 years. The majority of diagnoses were in women.
  • In 2015, 316 cases of infectious syphilis cases were reported to HPS – almost double the number reported for 2014 (159).
  • The majority of infectious syphilis cases were in men (96%), of whom 87% were men who have sex with men (MSM).
  • In 2015, there were 361 diagnoses of HIV infection newly reported in Scotland with 137 new reports of infection among MSM, 91 from heterosexual intercourse, and 52 in people who inject drugs (PWID), respectively.
  • The prescribing rate for new insertions of long acting reversible contraception (LARC) (an implant, intra-uterine device (IUD) or intra-uterine system (IUS)) was 52.1 per 1,000 women aged 15-49 years in 2015/16. The equivalent figures were slightly higher in 2013/14 (53.0) and 2014/15 (53.1). New LARC insertions peak in women aged 20-24 years (55.2 per 1,000 women in this age group) and then decline with age to 28.6 per 1,000 women aged 45 years and over.
  • In 2010-12, 25% of men and 15% of women in Scotland aged 16-74 years reported that they had had sex with someone of the opposite sex before they were 16 years old. Having multiple sexual partners in the previous year was reported by 15% of men and 9% of women in 2010-12, while 10% of men and 5% of women had sex without a condom with more than one partner in the previous year.
  • In 2010-12, one in five women (19%) and one in 20 men (4%) aged 16-74 years reported that someone had attempted to have sex with them against their will at least once since the age of 13 years. One in ten women (10%) and one in 50 (2%) men aged 16-74 years had experienced someone having sex with them against their will.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, the proportion of adults in Scotland aged 18 years and over saying that sexual relationships between two people of the same sex are always or mostly wrong, declined from 48% to 18%. 

Section updates:

  • The last major update of this section was completed in December 2016.
  • The next major update is due to be carried out by end December 2017.
Page last updated: 12 September 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014