IFGH 2010: The Development of an Evidence-Based Schools Sex Education Programme by AIDS West

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November 30, 2010

This paper describes the development of a sexuality and relationships programme for post- primary schools, to complement the RSE programme, based on the findings of a three year study. The study used participatory methods to explore how young people could contribute to sexual health curriculum development, in order to increase the relevance of such curricula to schoolchildren.

The young people stated that it was vital that sex education allow them access to factual information. The issues that they wished to gain knowledge on ranged from how to establish healthy respectful, communicative relationships, knowing how babies are made, when one’s ready physically and emotionally for sex, how to put a condom on, who to go to for information and how best to talk about sexual issues. They wanted to be taught by people whom they can trust to deliver information accurately, confidentially and with confidence. The rich data reflected and respected the young peoples’ perspective without resort to adult interpretations. These data formed the basis for the development of AIDS West schools programme which consists of three 90 minute workshops using interactive exercises. The programme is informative, fun and relevant to the development of sexual competency among Irish adolescents in the highly sexualised 21st century.

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