A leading Scottish charity has called for compulsory Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education to be taught in schools for fear that today’s young people are missing out on vital information to prevent HIV.
The research launched by HIV Scotland shows that young people do not have consistent access to information about HIV and that lessons on sexual health do not have parity with other areas of the curriculum.
The charity see making HIV a fundamental part of RSHP lessons as a means of guaranteeing young people have access to information to increase their understanding of HIV and provide them with the knowledge to minimise their risk.
On average in Scotland, two young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are diagnosed with HIV each month.
Nathan Sparling, Head of Policy and Campaigning at HIV Scotland said:
“We need to treat sexual health education as a public health issue. Our young people must have a 21st century understanding of HIV including being equipped with correct, up-to-date knowledge and information about how to minimise their risk of infection.”
“Treatment and prevention of HIV has changed dramatically in the last few years and HIV is no longer the death sentence that it once was. However, Scotland has failed to reduce HIV infection rates in any significant way. That’s why we are calling for schools to be educating young people about the wide variety of prevention measures, including PrEP. This will help Scotland play its part in the global mission to eliminate new HIV transmissions.”
“In Scotland many young people move from rural to urban areas for university, college or work – that’s why we also need to ensure parity of education across Scotland regardless of the low prevalence of HIV in rural areas.”