An Open Letter from the International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) about Comprehensive Sexuality Education


What is the IAAH position on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)?


What can we do?

Young People, Parents and Community Leaders: If you feel that you need more information about CSE, please look at this Q&A prepared by WHO. Schools will be happy to speak with you about their CSE plans. If there is no CSE in your local school yet, please ask your education and health professionals how you can get involved in making it happen! 

Policymakers and Politicians: Read this article to see how Parliamentarians are prioritising CSE – you are not alone! Find out how other countries are innovating in this field through case studies. Talk to community leaders, teachers, young people and parents – what do they think? 

Media professionals: Please think critically about any approaches from people about this subject. Who are they? Who do they represent? Who else in your community can comment on the subject and provide some balance? What do local young people think – where is their voice? 

Health professionals: Please brief yourself about the evidence base on CSE (summarised in Table 1) and make yourself available to your local schools and to media professionals. Think about the sex, reproductive health and relationship needs of your community – what problems do young people consult you with? How can CSE address their needs? How can families help? Offer support to parents, so that they can educate their children and young people in the home as well. 

Education professionals delivering CSE: Consolidate your relationships with families, community leaders and local health professionals. Present a united front when challenged by people who do not have the best interests of your young people at heart. Seek out opportunities to engage with local media to tell the ‘good news’ stories of your experience. Reach out to other professionals currently delivering CSE. It could be useful to update your knowledge about CSE so that you can be a champion for CSE delivery. 

Education professionals not yet delivering CSE: If you are uncertain about the need for CSE, please read about what is happening around the world, and how you can innovate in your country. You should be able to find school curricula and ministerial directives, which recommend CSE in most countries. This could help you appreciate its importance and dispel misconceptions you might have about why it should be taught in schools. If you already appreciate the need for CSE, reach out to others currently delivering it to find out more about their experiences and be an advocate for CSE delivery. These attacks on CSE in schools are dangerous, but they may also provide an opportunity to advocate for extending CSE into your context. Start with families and community leaders – what do they know, and how can the provision of CSE in your schools help your young people? 



The International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) is a multidisciplinary, non-government organization which aims to improve the health, development and wellbeing of 10-24-year-old adolescents and young adults, in every region of the world. Since its inception in 1987, IAAH has been committed to evidence-informed practices and policies, and to ensuring that young voices inform our work. 


Please contact us for further information using the email address: [email protected].

Twitter: @IAAHGlobal
Facebook: https://www.facebook/com/globalIAAH/
LinkedIn: IAAH YPN

Additional Resources

Council of Europe (2007). Convention on the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS No. 201). 

Global Partnership Forum on CSE (2023). The case for healthy, informed and empowered learners (Flyer). 

PMNCH (2023). 1point8 Billion Young People for Change – Global Forum for Adolescents 2023. 

UNESCO/UN (2018). International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education – An evidence-based approach. 

UNESCO/UN (2021). The Journey Towards Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Global Status Report. 

UNFPA/UN (2020). International Technical and Programmatic Guidance on out of school CSE. 

WHO (2020). Human Rights: Comprehensive Sexuality Education (Video). 

WHO (2023). Comprehensive Sexuality Education (Q&A). 

WHO (2023). Finding common ground in a connected world: parliamentarians prioritize comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) (News item).–parliamentarians-prioritize-comprehensive-sexuality-education-%28cse%29