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Sex education and sexual health education are extremely important areas of learning for young people. This is the job of a sexual health nurse – to teach children, teenagers and young adults all there is to know about sex, including the risks associated with it, namely, underage or unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual health nurses work in a variety of places, most commonly in sexual health clinics, family planning clinics and in schools. Sometimes a full-time school nurse will give lessons to students on issues relating to sexual health.
It is important to note that learning certain areas of sex education outside of the basic biological functions in state-funded schools is not compulsory in the UK; parents can decide whether they want their children attend sex education classes.
In sexual health clinics, also known as GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinics, nurses will perform a range of tasks: they provide information about contraception and sexual health; they conduct physical examinations on patients, diagnose and prescribe medications to treat sexually transmitted infections; they give contraception, including emergency contraception (the morning after pill); and they counsel young people who are experiencing issues relating to either sex or personal sexual health.