British Teens Get Booze in Return for STD Testing

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True, Extreme Childhood

Liquor Bottles

British health officials are trading alcohol for STD tests with children as young as 16. Credit: jesus leon, Flickr

Health officials desperate to stem the rising tide of sexually transmitted diseases among British youth are bribing kids as young as 16 with free alcohol in return for STD screenings.

Britain's National Union of Students proposed the countrywide plan, according to the Daily Mail. Students who volunteer to be tested are given tokens which can be redeemed for alcoholic beverages. The move comes as cases of chlamydia are rising among kids ages 16-24, making it the most common STD in the UK. More than 120,000 cases were reported last year.

Here's the real shocker -- kids are abusing the program. Gee, who could have seen that one coming? According to the Mail, events during which the tokens can be redeemed have descended into drunken mayhem.Politicians and medical experts, including Britain's Department of Health, are criticizing the scheme, saying that it encourages binge drinking.

"The organizers are naive to think that when alcohol's involved, students wouldn't work out a way to abuse the system, Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe told the Mail. "Using alcohol to bribe youths into testing is also unsuitable as we're trying to curb binge drinking not promote it."

The events are often held in bars or clubs, with the testing area set up within spitting distance of the bartender. One student told the Mail that the event she attending at the Sports Cafe in central London resulted in hundreds of drunk kids.

"There were loads of people who headed down there when they worked out there was free booze on offer," the unnamed woman said. "They weren't interested in getting tested to see if they had a serious health problem, just how quick they could get drunk."

File this one under "whose bright idea was that?" How many of those drunk students went home and had risky sex? We're betting more than a few.

Hey, England, you know what's a big motivator? Cash. Give that a try next time.

Related: British Scouts Get Condoms

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.