Students need and want more sex education, survey reveals

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Monday 27th August 2018

Our ongoing work around education in Scotland's schools has revealed that students need and want more sexual health education. Building on the Guaranteeing Lessons for All report, our national student survey heard from 2806 students in 418 schools across 19 council areas.

The survey revealed:

• 84% of schools in Scotland offer sexual health lessons, however 57% of students were not currently participating in sexual health lessons in 2017/18. 16% reported only receiving sexual health lessons less than a few times per year.
• 34% of students said they did not know how to minimise HIV risk, with 22% claiming that lessons do not provide enough information on how to minimise the risk of HIV.
• 15% of students said they did not know anything about HIV transmission and prevention, with 27% believing that HIV could be transmitted through kissing, 45% through spitting and 34% through toilet seats.
• Half of all students said they wanted more information on HIV transmission at school.
• 41% of students did not know where to go for sexual health services.
• Teachers are a reliable source of information for Scotland’s students, with 56% of students reporting their teaching being very confident in delivering sexual health messages.

Nathan Sparling, Head of Policy & Campaigning at HIV Scotland said:

“This is the largest survey of young people in Scotland, specifically focused on their experiences of sexual health education in schools. We heard from 2,806 students from Orkney to Dumfries & Galloway and right across the central belt. It shows that students in Scotland need and want better sexual health education, that informs them about the modern day realities of HIV and how to prevent it.

“Let’s be clear, HIV cannot be transmitted through spitting, kissing or toilet seats. When people living with HIV are on effective treatment, the virus is reduced to such a low level in their body that they are not able pass the virus on to others. These facts should be used to inform new generations about HIV, challenging stigma at the same time.”