YOUNG people seeking sexual health information can get help and advice from other young people thanks to a student-led national organisation.
Sexpression was set up initially by a group of medical students to take information and education about sexual health out to young people living in Britain.
The Glasgow group is supported and managed by NHS Greater Glasgow and volunteers organise and deliver programmes of free interactive workshops to young people on a range of different sexual health subjects.
These include sexually transmitted infections, HIV awareness, self-esteem, assertiveness, relationships, gender issues, values and attitudes, contraception and pregnancy.
Julie Craik, Health Promotion Officer with NHS Greater Glasgow, acts as a link between NHS Greater Glasgow and Sexpression.
She said: "Sexpression is a national network set up by students interested in bringing sexual health information and education to young people. NHS Greater Glasgow's involvement is to provide support to the group, including training the volunteers.
"The organisation provides a valuable resource to young people, many of whom might not normally approach health services for sexual health advice. It gives them the opportunity to take part in tailor-made workshops run by university students in safe and easily accessible venues such as youth groups, community halls and other local places."
The group has already held successful sessions for a number of young people in Glasgow.
Ruth Kelly, a former film and media student from Glasgow University, joined the Glasgow Sexpression group while she was still studying.
Still a leading member of the group, she got involved with the Glasgow group after taking part in a voluntary programme in South Africa working with peer education groups on educating young people about HIV and Aids.
She said: "I came home wanting to get involved in something similar here. I found out about Sexpression and took it from there."
Ruth was one of the first group of students to be trained by NHS Greater Glasgow to deliver sex education.
She said: "As I went through my training, I realised how little I was informed about sexual health when I was growing up, you know the emotional side of things as well as the factual. It made me really angry that no-one had spoken to me about these things and more determined to be involved in sex education in some way.
"Personally, I get a lot out of it and I think the young people do too. Every workshop is different and the young people who attend can have varying degrees of knowledge, from knowing quite a lot about sexual health to having huge gaps in their knowledge. Generally, I come away from each session feeling that they have at least taken something from it."
Ruth revealed that on the whole, young people were quite aware of contraception and sexually transmitted infections.
"Despite the fact they know this, they still seem to believe a lot of myths about sexual health. There are a lot of grey areas in their knowledge. It's also really satisfying to discuss with them issues that they might not normally address such as sexuality."
www.medsin.orgFor more information on Sexpression, go to their website:
[email protected]If you would like Sexpression to deliver workshops for young people within your organisation or you would like to become a member of Sexpression in Glasgow, contact: Julie Craik, NHS Greater Glasgow, Dalian House, 350 St Vincent Street, Glasgow on 0141 201 4671 or
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Glasgow Sexpression groups consists of around 20 students (studying a variety of subjects).
Sexpression is one of a number of initiatives NHS Greater Glasgow is involved in to improve sexual health among young people living in the Greater Glasgow area.
Media Inquiries: Dawn Nelson 0141 201 4429