'Our sex education was adequate although we did not get onto the juicy stuff until, frankly, it was too late for some. I thank the pages of teen mag Just Seventeenfor my best information.'
Reading a recent BBC poll that found over a third of 16 to 24-year-olds do not always use a condom when having sex made me cast my mind back to my younger days.
Take your mind out of the gutter: I am talking about my own experience of how youth interpret public health messages.
Anyone over 16 who does not have the nous to use contraception must possess a potent mix of arrogance and blind faith to believe 'it couldn't happen to me'. That, or have six pints inside them.
What I would really like to see is some data on contraceptive use among the under-16s.
Even in my later years at school I used to be horrified by how many of my classmates were pig ignorant about the risks of getting pregnant, catching an STD or contracting something in later life.
Our sex education was adequate although we did not get onto the juicy stuff (what STDs can do to your bits, and so on) until, frankly, it was too late for some. I thank the pages of teen mag Just Seventeenfor my best information.
Don't get me wrong: I don't believe for a minute that as many of my peers who claimed to be having sex were actually doing so.
But the group of girls who arrived to collect their GCSE results wearing bump-hiding coats or were seen pushing prams less than a year later were part of a significant minority. Not for nothing does Greater Manchester boast one of the highest national rates of under-18 pregnancies.
Public health professionals have long struggled with the issue of what to do about teenagers who regard pregnancy as a lifestyle issue, and I have no fresh ideas on how to convince them there are better alternatives.
Some of my classmates had made up their minds months before. Weeks after leaving school I bumped into one of them. A few minutes of embarrassed conversation about what we were both up to ensued. I was embarking on five years of study and debt accumulation and had ambitions to become a journalist. She was already raising the first of two children and was not to enter the workforce for a decade.
Each of us privately thought the other was barking mad and we have not spoken since.