Warning on sex lessons for teenagers

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A FLAGSHIP government scheme aimed at improving the sexual health of young people had a “limited impact”, a new study has found.

Researchers found that the sexual health knowledge of teens targeted by the Healthy Respect programme improved, especially among boys.

However, MSPs have been told that it had no impact in encouraging safe sex and that there was some evidence of a greater tolerance of sexual coercion among girls.

The study was led by Professor Lawrie Elliot from Edinburgh Napier University, in collaboration with Glasgow’s MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.

“We found that poorer young people made more use of sexual health services provided by Healthy Respect, but this didn’t translate into behaviour change and so sexual inequalities remained, particularly among girls,” said Prof Elliot, who gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

More than 5000 15-to-16-year-olds from across the socio-economic divide were surveyed as part of the academic study of the scheme, which ran from 2006-2010.