LGBT sex education in schools could lead to lower HIV rates and happier students

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The National AIDS Trust has released statistics that highlight the weak sex and relationships education in schools – and why better resources would lead to lower HIV rates and happier LGBT youth.

Throughout last year, the National AIDS Trust surveyed more than 1,000 young men in the UK, aged 14 to 19.

The study states: “. . .of those [55 percent] who had ever been bullied or treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation, over a third (39 percent) had experienced bullying or discrimination because of their sexual orientation from a teacher or another adult at school or college.”

68 percent were not educated about HIV testing and 64 percent had no instruction in school on what to do when bullied for being gay.

US statistics from PFLAG NYC state: “Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.”

The National AIDS Trust study divulged that 75 percent of the respondents did not receive any instruction about same-sex relationships or attraction.

However, 73 percent would value more information or support when it came to the topic.

Because LGBT-inclusive education was unavailable in schools, the respondents turned to websites, the “gay community,” pornography, friends and siblings or online forums and chat-rooms.

The results of the largest study of its kind in the UK revealed that bullying can lead to unsatisfactory mental health, which increases HIV risks because of an indifference to sexual health.

52 percent of the respondents would appreciate more education on mental health.

With the HIV rates in the UK rising, different alternatives have to be considered for prevention and the “Boys who like Boys” study reveals just that.

57 percent of those surveyed by the Nationals AIDS Trust expressed that they were unsatisfied or unsure about their satisfaction when it came to their HIV knowledge.

A good portion were unaware that HIV can only be transmitted through semen, vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, blood or breast milk, not saliva.

Additionally, they had no idea about the post-exposure prophylaxis drug, which halts infection if taken within the following 72 hours.

Recently, debate over LGBT inclusive sex education has been sparked.

General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower said: “We need education policy that develops curriculum for children and young people that supports the democratic values of a diverse Britain – including LGBT equality.

“Future governments must tackle the embedded homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exist in some schools,” she told The Telegraph.

The National AIDS Trust also suggests that education relevant to LGBT youth should exist in schools, like information on consent, safe sex and pornography.

However, religious proponents object to the recommendations, claiming they will “oversexualise” the youngest members of society.

“This kind of policy is dangerous for our children who are being oversexualised at a very young age,” argued Andrea Williams of Christian Concern.

“They are being introduced to concepts and having normalised sex relationships which robs them of their innocence and is not good for their emotional and moral well being.”