For 30 years HBSC has been a pioneer cross-national study gaining insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe is conducted every four years in 44 countries and regions across Europe and North America. With adolescents making about one sixth of the world's population, HBSC uses its findings to inform policy and practice to improve the lives of millions of young people. [more]
Young people are more likely than adults to engage in risky sexual behaviour and are at greater risk of contracting an STI. They are also less likely to search for correct information on safe sex practices.
A recent study analysing Portuguese HBSC data aimed to examine the attitudes, risky sexual behaviours and safe sex knowledge of middle, high school and university students in Portugal to determine whether sex education classes are an influencing factor in the sexual practices of these three groups.
Researchers found that approximately 9 in 10 of those surveyed had used a condom the first time they had sex, with University students showing the most positive attitude towards condom use. University students were the only group to show a significant relationship between having had sex education classes and higher frequency of condom use. They also demonstrated the most knowledge about the transmission of HIV/AIDS and the preventative actions that can be taken.
However, across all three educational stages surveyed, those who had had sex education classes demonstrated a greater knowledge of safe sex than those who had not. Middle and high school pupils also showed a more positive attitude towards HIV/AIDS sufferers if they had had sex education classes.
Overall, Portuguese young people are practicing safe sex but a minority are still putting themselves at risk. As this study has shown, mandatory sex education classes curb risky sexual behaviour. Improving young people’s knowledge about safe sex helps to promote condom use which in turn prevents the spread of HIV and other STIs, while reducing stigma surrounding HIV sufferers.
[23-04-2015 to 30-10-2015]