“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Margaret Dole
Banner image (photo of Holyrood Parliament Banner image (photo of a delegate in a suit listening intently at a conference)


Power to the English people?
Will the Scottish referendum result in new powers for England? More
Heywood by-election candidates list
A list of confirmed candidates for the Heywood and Middleton by-election, to be held on 9 October. More
What if referendum ends in a draw?
What happens if the Scottish referendum ends in a draw? More

Young People and Sexual Health:
Integrating and Implementing the European Knowledge

Key Speakers

Ms. Kaye Wellings, Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
Dr. Brenda Spencer, University Lausanne, Switzerland
Dr. med. Christine Klapp, ÄGGF e.V. and Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany
Dr. Christiana Nöstlinger, Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
Dr. Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Manager International Research at Rutgers WPF, Netherland

Sexual health and sexually transmitted infections remain a significant public health problem in Europe, with untreated STIs potentially leading to serious short and long term consequences for individuals. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a decrease in the rate of STIs, however, this is once again on the rise. This rise is particularly visible through outbreaks of Syphilis and Lymphogranuloma Venereum in several European countries, with Chlamydia being the widest spread. Additionally, since the late 1980s HIV and AIDS have been a major health concern and a high priority for the EU. As the numbers of newly diagnosed HIV infections have increased in many EU Member States and in their Eastern European neighbours over the last two years, the measures already being taken need to be reinforced urgently.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) are attempting to tackle sexual health problems by implementing behavioural surveillance systems at the national level in order to collect and analyse measureable data on different cases. ECDPC supports the development of a comprehensive framework for behavioural surveillance in EU/EFTA countries. Additionally, the World Health Organisation contributes enormously through its European regional strategy on sexual and reproductive health aimed at reforming existing services at national level.

Whilst much has been done to curb the rising level of infections in countries such as Sweden, where children are taught about sexual health at a primary level, it is clear a more comprehensive strategy is still required. Due in part to a negative perception of sexual education or a fear that it will encourage sexual activity, adolescents are often denied education, information or health services that would otherwise have helped them to make capable, informed choices. There is an urgent need to raise awareness and provide easily accessible education through both formal and informal channels and youth-friendly sexual health services.

The European Commission’s policy aims to enhance awareness of the risks of, support the prevention of and give guidance on the control of STIs. Furthermore, with the EU STI outbreak early warning and response system already in existence, it is important to build on the progress made to date by improving the exchange of data and implementing new monitoring processes. WHO supports, with other European partners, the development of operations research for improving policy implementation and educating ministries and health authorities through advanced analytical methods for better decision-making.

This timely international symposium will provide a valuable insight into the latest behavioural surveillance methods used in Europe, raise awareness of sexual reproductive health related challenges and explore innovative solutions. Delegates from all sectors will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and share best practices in improving sexual health education and awareness for all young people in Europe. Public Policy Exchange welcomes the participation of all relevant partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders.

Delegates will:

  • Promote teenage sexual health through better communication, sex and relationship education and access to services
  • Share best practices and understanding of sexual behaviour and sexual outcomes
  • Help shape a positive and holistic EU-wide approach towards sexual health
  • Delineate appropriate frameworks for multi-sector coordination


09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

Ms. Kaye Wellings, Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK (confirmed)
10:10 Session One:
Improving Sexual Health of Adolescents in Europe – National Level Perspectives, Practical Guidelines and Implications
  • Challenges and Possible Solutions
  • Creating Appropriate Frameworks for Multi-Sector and Multi-Level Coordination at National Level
  • Measurable Goals and Specific Indicators
  • Exchange of Best Practices and Lessons Learned
  • Recommendations
Dr. Brenda Spencer, University Lausanne, Switzerland (confirmed)
10:35 First Round of Discussions
11:05 Morning Coffee Break
11:25 Session Two:
Sharing Practical Experience in Research on Sexual Health of Youth, Sexual Education and Youth Friendly Services
  • Practical Implications of Positive and Negative Indicators
  • The Role of Media in Influencing Sexual Health Behaviors of Young People
  • Exchange of Best Practices and Lessons Learned
  • Recommendations
Dr. Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Manager International Research at Rutgers WPF, Netherlands (confirmed)
11:50 Second Round of Discussions
12:20 Networking Lunch
13:20 Session Three:
Delivering Sexual Health Information - Engaging Young People in the Agenda
  • Lessons Learned from Preventive Medical Engagement
  • Empowering Adolescents through Sexual Health Education in Schools
  • Creating an Effective Holistic Approach Towards Young People
  • Existing Public Policy Health Strategies
  • Teenage Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Challenges and Possible Solutions
  • Recommendations
Dr. med. Christine Klapp, ÄGGF e.V. and Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany (confirmed)
Dr. Christiana Nöstlinger Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium (confirmed)
13:45 Third Round of Discussions
14:15 Afternoon Coffee Break
14:30 Session Four:
Shaping a Comprehensive EU-Wide Strategy
  • Accessibility and Affordability of SRH Services in Europe – The Role of Regional Organisations
  • Including Adolescents in Agenda Setting
  • Including SRH Indicators in Public Health Monitoring at National and EU levels
  • Practical Implications from Recent Initiatives and Projects
  • Recommendations for Future Actions
Ms. Kaye Wellings, Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK (confirmed)
14:55 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:25 Chair’s Summary and Closing Remarks
15:30 Networking Reception & Refreshments
16:00 Symposium Close

Who Should Attend?

  • Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinators
  • Sexual Health Strategy Co-ordinators
  • Local, Regional and National Health Services
  • Sexual Health Treatment/Advisory Services
  • Teachers and Senior Schools Staff
  • Counselling Services
  • Child Psychologists
  • Sexual Health Support and Outreach Services
  • Local and Regional Education and Children’s Services
  • Health Promotion Advisers
  • School Nurses and Health Visitors
  • Child and Education Psychologists
  • Family Planning Specialists/Associations
  • Looked After/Children in Care Teams
  • Drug and Alcohol Action Teams
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
  • GUM Clinics
  • Social Care Professionals
  • Child Protection Officers
  • National Governmental Agencies
  • Third Sector Representatives
  • Academics
  • Social Services
  • Gender and Development Organisations
  • Sexual Health NGOs
  • Sexual Health Associations
  • Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Services
  • Reproductive Health Alliances
  • Health Education and Research Centres
  • National Societies for Sexology
  • Sexuality and Health Foundations
  • Associations for Clinical Sexology
  • Youth Forums
  • Youth Organisations
  • Social Inclusion Organisations
  • National Schools for Public Health
  • Institutes of General Practice and Community Medicine
  • Psychoanalysts
  • Family Practitioners
Tuesday, 15th May 2012
Silken Berlaymont Hotel
, Brussels

how to get to the venue

Register your place

“ [Sexual and reproductive health] problems are rooted in a biomedical dimension, yet their origins lie in human behaviour – the domain of the social scientist. Social norms govern the expression of sexuality and sexual behaviour in every society, and these norms sanction reproduction. Health-compromising practices often reflect social norms (e.g. child marriage, intimate partner violence). They increase people’s vulnerability to risk of adverse outcomes while limiting their ability to adopt healthy behaviour. Sociopolitical forces and social and economic exclusion (including poverty, unequal access to services, and gender inequalities) may also act as major influences on sexual and reproductive behaviour and choices. ”
UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, 2012
“The substantial decline in the abortion rate observed earlier has stalled, and the proportion of all abortions that are unsafe has increased. Restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. Measures to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion, including investments in family planning services and safe abortion care, are crucial steps toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals”
WHO, 19 January 2012