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. Through our research we are identifying examples of good practise in the provision of sexual health education, how it is evaluated and how young people in Scotland learn about HIV in the classroom.

This report - HIV and Education: Guaranteeing lessons for all - builds on the voices of people living with HIV and existing evidence from the third sector, as a foundation to conduct a unique piece of research on how each local authority delivers RSHP lessons.

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.

RSHP 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 within schools.

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. There is precedent for this with the UK Parliament passing the Children and Social Work Act (2017), which will require all schools in England to teach Relationships and Sex Education from 2019.

Read our report HIV and Education: Guaranteeing lessons for all [PDF - 3MB]

What you can do

Share your story – We want to hear your experience of sexual health education in school. Good or bad, let us know. Email us.

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