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School practices important for students’ sexual health: analysis of the school health research network survey in Wales

17 Nov 2017

AbstractBackgroundThis study investigates how the sexual health outcomes of a representative sample of students aged 15–16 in Wales vary according to the person delivering Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools, students’ access to on-site sexual health services and access to free condoms.MethodsCross-sectional, self-report survey data were collected from students who participated in the 2015/16 School Health Research Network questionnaire in Wales. Data were analyzed from 59 schools, totalling 3781 students aged 15–16 (M = 15.7; SD = 0.3) who responded to questions about ever having had sex; age of sexual initiation and condom use at last intercourse. School level data were also collected, examining who delivers school SRE, provision of on-site, school ‘drop-in’ sexual health services and provision of free condoms for students. Binary and linear multi-level analyses explored the relationship between school level predictors and sexual health outcomes.ResultsCompared to teachers, other modes of SRE delivery were associated with better sexual health outcomes, including remaining sexually inactive, later age of first intercourse and condom use. Providing on-site sexual health services did not significantly reduce the odds of having ever had sex or delaying first intercourse; but was associated with increased condom use. On-site condom provision was associated with lower condom use.ConclusionsSRE delivery by educators other than teachers is optimum to young people’s sexual health outcomes. Further funding and coordination of on-site sexual health advice services are required. Longitudinal research is needed to identify the temporal sequence of sexual health practices and outcomes.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in European Journal of Public Health