HIV and education: next steps

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Monday 21st August 2017

Over the past year HIV Scotland has been engaging with a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, third sector, NHS and teaching organisations, to better understand how young people learn about HIV in school through Relationship, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education. At present, there is no requirement for young people to learn about HIV in school, despite education being recognised as an important prevention strategy within the Sexual Health and BBV Framework.

The issue of HIV education and awareness has been consistently identified as a priority issue by people living with HIV through the Positive Persons’ Manifesto. Evidence submitted by HIV Scotland and other HIV organisations on the non-compulsory status of RSHP was also referenced in a publication circulated to all UN members as part of the UK’s human rights check in 2017.

A key outcome of this work will be the publication of a report in September which will provide a unique snapshot of how young people across Scotland are learning about HIV in schools. Thanks to the generosity of councils, we were able to get information from all 32 local authorities detailing what resources they use, how lessons on HIV are delivered and what involvement young people have in shaping lessons.

Following the launch of this report, HIV Scotland will be engaging with young people, both in school and those who have recently left school, to capture their experiences of RSHP education and what they have learned about HIV. An open survey will be open from mid-September for anyone living in Scotland who has left school and is 25 and under. A separate survey will be shared among people currently in school. This will be an exciting opportunity for young people to share their views and experiences, and will shape HIV Scotland’s campaign work on RSHP going forward.

For more information, contact Liam Beattie Policy & Political Officer.