HC Deb 26 July 1990 vol 177 c593W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about teaching of safe sex to young people by specialised professional centres.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

The teaching of safe sex to young people is undertaken by a wide range of organisations. At national level the Scottish Health Education Group (SHEG) produces educational material which aims to provide young people with information and advice to help heighten awareness of the risks and problems sexual relationships can cause, particularly in relation to HIV infection and AIDS. The group is about to undertake fresh research that will explore perceptions of sexual health among young people in the 16 to 25 age group to ascertain the need for new health education material in this area.

At the local level, health board family planning clinics play a valuable role in providing free and accurate contraceptive advice and information on the need for safe sexual practices. Doctors and practice nurses also have a role to play in this area. The school system also undertakes an important role in the delivery of sex education. A joint SHEG/Scottish Consultative Committee on the Curriculum working party on health education in schools has recently reviewed the structure of health education programmes for the 10 to 14 age group: this review has included extended consideration of the treatment of sexuality and relationships. The working party's report, which advocates the concept of the health-promoting school, is expected to be published in September. In addition, of course, parents have a direct responsibility for the instruction of their children in the matter of sex education.

Voluntary organisations also operate at both the national and local levels and contribute to the teaching of safe sex to young people.