Community-based Peer Sexual Health Educators: Lessons from Youth
Diversity of Research in Health Journal
Developing and utilizing youth community members as peer educators is a growing and common phenomenon in health and social services, largely because of the organic learning and modelling processes in their everyday lives made possible by peer-to-peer processes. Part of what makes peer education effective over professional education is the potential rapport and trust built through shared lived experiences and identities between peers. There is significant potential for engaging peers in sexual
... g peers in sexual health education specifically. This small-scale qualitative study explores the sexual health education needs of youth staying/living in York Region who identify as part of LGBTQ+ communities, as well as youth who either experience homelessness or experience serious mental health problems using a focus group methodology. The objective of this study is to report on the findings from the first session in a series of focus groups. Findings suggest that education about the consent to sexual activity is a significant area of need for all participants, and has implications in terms of the social context for participants. Emerging findings will be discussed in terms of participants' expressed needs, such as a greater emphasis on consent, using all venues to discuss consent and relationships, and the importance of social identity of educators matching that of participants.