Sexuality Education for HIV prevention

© UNESCO

It is estimated that 34 million people around the world are living with HIV. Since 2001, 25 countries have managed to reduce new infections by 50% or more, with the Caribbean seeing a 42% reduction and rates remaining relatively stable over the long term in Latin America, with some 83,000 new cases during 2011. However, as HIV is a preventable condition, there remains much to be done in terms of prevention.

Sexuality education is vital, providing children and young people with knowledge, skills, and values that allow them to face their responsibilities in their sexual and social lives. This can help to change the course of the HIV epidemic, and to prevent new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancies, sexual violence, abuse, and exploitation, discrimination, stigmatisation and all other forms of related violence.

Comprehensive sexuality education is a complex issue - all the more so in Latin America and the Caribbean, where a number of viewpoints and ideologies often place obstacles in the way of incorporating the area into formal education curricula. UNESCO has proposed a package of International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (PDF) that aims to provide key tools to make advances with learning objectives by age group, balancing the needs of children and young people and the responsibilities of teachers and parents.

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