Scotland's senior public health official recommended sex education begin at age 5 to combat rising sexually transmitted disease and teenage pregnancy rates.
"It needs to start at quite an early age, because if you leave it until they are 12 it is too late because some are already experimenting. It probably needs to be started off when children start school," said Dr. Charles Saunders, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish consultants' committee, Scotland on Sunday reported.
"You need to start laying the groundwork to help them and empower them to make decisions and turn things down," Saunders said.
Students should have access to contraception starting at age 13, he said.
Parents' groups gave the proposal tentative approval, but the Catholic Church vowed to oppose it.
Scotland has the highest rates teenage pregnancy and STD such as Chlamydia in the developed world, the newspaper said.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
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