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Sexuality education an imperative for children and young people in a world affected by AIDS

Sexuality education an imperative for children and young people in a world affected by AIDS
  • © UNAIDS/D.Bregnard
  • (From L to R) Mark Richmond, UNESCO’s Global Coordinator on HIV and AIDS, Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr Mariangela Batista Galvao Simao, Director, Brazil National STD/AIDS Programme, Elizabeth Mataka, member of the Global Advisory Group on Sexuality Education and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa and Marijke Wijnroks, the AIDS ambassador for the Netherlands

In many parts of the world, a combination of social taboos, unavailability of sound information, lack of resources and infrastructure make it difficult for children and young people to access sexuality education aimed at improving knowledge and reducing risk.

This leaves many young people vulnerable to coercion, abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

According to the UNAIDS 2008 Global Report on the AIDS Epidemic, only 40% of young people aged 15-24 had accurate knowledge about HIV and transmission.

It should come as no surprise that, against this background of insufficient levels of basic knowledge, young people aged 15-24 account for 40% of all new HIV infections (UNAIDS 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update).

In response to this challenge, the voluntary and non-mandatory International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education developed by UNESCO in partnership with UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO seeks to assist education, health and other relevant authorities to develop and implement school-based sexuality education materials and programmes.

Distributed this week at the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education is based on a rigorous review of evidence on sexuality education programmes and is aimed at education and health sector decision-makers and professionals.

To read more, click here

  • Author(s):UNESCO
  • Source:UNESCO
  • 11-12-2009
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