Scouts roll out national sex education programme

Badges on scout's uniform The sexual health programme is designed for both male and female scouts

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Scout groups in the UK are to have the chance to teach young people about sexual health issues in an attempt to curb sexually transmitted infections.

A programme of activities called "My Body, My Choice" is to be made available for the first time for teaching 14 to 18-year-olds.

Activities include a game where young people can ask questions anonymously.

The Scout Association is introducing the programme because of its concerns over teenage pregnancies and disease.

Quoting Health Protection Agency figures, it said the UK had the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and teenage pregnancies in Europe.

These "worrying statistics" were most likely to be reversed if young people were given clear information about safe sex, it said.

'Smart decisions'

The learning programme will cover relationships and sexual health, is designed to be used in a "relaxed and informal environment" with both male and female scout group members, and was developed because of increasing demand among scouts and their leaders, the Scout Association said.

Matt Mills, a Scout Leader from Essex, who was involved in the development of the new material, said it covered "sexuality, STIs and abstinence".

Adventurer and TV personality Bear Grylls, who holds the position of Chief Scout, said the programme was about enabling young people to "make smart decisions" about their relationships.

"We want to help young people become confident, clued up and aware," he said.

"My message is - make your own mind up and don't let others do it for you. We only get one body - so respect it - and people will respect you."

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