The government is once again reviewing its sexual health policy after the research it was based on was found to be some 12 years old, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Tuesday. 

Fearne acknowledged that the policy, which has been years in the making, was being redrafted after being asked what staged it had reached. 

The minister said the decision was taken after it emerged that the research underpinning it was too old. 

"Our public health department has now been tasked with carrying out a new study to understand the sexual practices of people today," Fearne said. 

The decision means a new policy will not be published this year, the minister said, with the results of the public health department's study now expected in early 2022. 

In 2020, Fearne had said the new policy would be out in the first half of 2021, arguing at the time that the study was delayed because the COVID-19 pandemic had forced other aspects of health to be sidelined. 

The sexual health policy currently in use was published in 2010. It, too was plagued by similar problems and delays and took around a decade to draft. 

In 2014, the then-head of the GU Clinic had said that the policy in use was "outdated the day it came out." It remains in use seven years later.

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