International symposium in New York to focus on sexuality education
Decades after the emergence of the virus that causes AIDS, how can we improve sexuality education in schools and fill the gaps in young people’s knowledge about HIV? To address this question, the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Education is convening an international symposium, organized by UNESCO, in New York (United States) on 27 April.
Still today, fewer than 40% of young men and women in the world are well informed about HIV and how it is transmitted. We are far from the goal set in 2001 at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS: to empower 95% of all young people with knowledge about HIV and AIDS by 2010. Increasing knowledge is all the more urgent as young people aged 15-24 account for 45% of all new HIV infections.
The symposium will bring together representatives of the IATT member institutions, bilateral agencies, private donors and civil society. It will review sexuality education programmes in selected countries, particularly in the 17 priority countries* identified by UNAIDS. For the first time, the findings of an international study on the comparative cost and cost-effectiveness of sexuality education programmes in Kenya, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Estonia and The Netherlands will be released.
Discussion will be based on the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (2009). Published by UNESCO and developed with other UN agencies**, the document is aimed at health and education professionals. It presents the rationale for sexuality education and provides technical advice on subjects to be covered and goals to be attained – according to the age group targeted – to implement basic sexuality education. Onesmus M. Kiminza, Senior Deputy Director, Kenya Ministry of Education, will present the case of Kenya, which has relied on the Technical Guidance to revise and reinforce its sexuality education programmes with technical support from UNESCO, Family Health International and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Education was created in 2002 to improve HIV and AIDS education and to encourage coordinated responses among UN agencies.
* Botswana, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
** The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education was developed by UNESCO together with UNAIDS cosponsors, notably UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF, as well as independent experts. The Symposium will be held at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, New York (USA) from 9 am to 6 pm.
The Symposium will be held at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, New York (USA) from 9 am to 6 pm.