New report: HIV and Education, Guaranteeing Lessons for All

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Monday 25th September 2017

Comprehensive sexual health education plays a fundamental role in equipping young people with the knowledge they need to prevent the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, yet sex education remains a non-statutory part of the Scottish curriculum. Young people are not entering the world with the knowledge they need to prevent them from acquiring HIV, and this lack of knowledge contributes to stigmatising attitudes.

Our report, HIV and Education: Guaranteeing Lessons for All, presents research that has been conducted to better understand the realities of how young people learn about HIV in schools. This is a unique contribution to ongoing discussions about sexual health education, and presents information received from all of Scotland’s Local Authorities on the approaches taken.

Read the full report here [PDF - 3MB]

In Scotland there are two new HIV infections among young people aged between 16-24 every month. We believe that the implementation of the recommendations in this report can equip young people with the right knowledge and information, regardless of where they went to school, to minimise their risk and help contribute to the global mission to end new HIV transmissions.

Our recommendations

  • There should be a 21st century understanding of HIV, with resources providing information on the latest HIV prevention and treatment strategies, for example references to the availability of PrEP.
  • The national review of Personal and Social Education should identify a best practice model for schools and local authorities to share RSHP resources and training opportunities.
  • Updated RSHP guidance should be produced in collaboration with key stakeholders in education and ensure a stronger focus on HIV.
  • RSP lessons must be inclusive for all young people and include information on LGBT relationships.
  • Sexual Health professionals and third sector providers should have a visible presence in schools, including presentations and speeches by young people living with HIV.
  • Legislation should be introduced to the Scottish Parliament for RSHP lessons to become a compulsory component of the curriculum, in order to guarantee access for every young person in Scotland.

If you have any comments or would like to discuss this work further please contact Nathan Sparling Head of Policy and Campaigning