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The precise age at which information should be provided depends on the physical, emotional and intellectual development of the young people as well as their level of understanding.
What is covered and also how, depends on who is providing the sex education, when they are providing it, and in what context, as well as what the individual young person wants to know about.
Young people get information about sex and sexuality from a wide range of sources including each other, through the media including advertising, television and magazines, as well as leaflets, books and websites (such as which are intended to be sources of information about sex and sexuality. Providing information through sex education is therefore about finding out what young people already know and adding to their existing knowledge and correcting any misinformation they may have.
For example, young people may have heard that condoms are not effective against HIV/AIDS or that there is a cure for AIDS.
Sex education that works, by which we mean that it is effective, is sex education that contributes to this overall aim.
If sex education is going to be effective it needs to include opportunities for young people to develop skills, as it can be hard for them to act on the basis of only having information.
Young people are very interested in the moral and cultural frameworks that binds sex and sexuality.
It is important that they understand how bullying, stereotyping, abuse and exploitation can negatively influence relationships.
It is important to remember that talking in a balanced way about differences in opinion does not promote one set of views over another, or mean that one agrees with a particular view.
Part of exploring and understanding cultural, religious and moral views is finding out that you can agree to disagree.
The skills young people develop as part of sex education are linked to more general life-skills.
Being able to communicate, listen, negotiate, ask for and identify sources of help and advice, are useful life-skills and can be applied in terms of sexual relationships.