The Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society found that 50% of young people have had sexual intercourse by the time they are 16. This leaves 50% who haven’t.
Good sexual health information is as much about informing and empowering young people about healthy sexual practices (and attitudes) as it is providing them with information around Sexually Transmitted Infections.
A sexual health message that consists entirely of condoms and STI information is like a harm min message that consists entirely of clean needles and syringes. To truly promote sexual health, practitioners need to be able to offer young people practical information and resources they can utilise to maintain sexual health in their current context. A recent example of this is investigating religions that embrace and celebrate homosexuality with a young queer person who is experiencing conflict between their spirituality and their sexual identity. In this instance, fear, isolation, self-hatred and shame posed a greater threat to the young person’s sexual health than chlamydia.