Education at the heart of HIV/AIDS prevention

December 4, 2009

The World AIDS Day themes – universal access and human rights – were addressed at the Finnish All-Party Group and Family Federation seminar that M4ID also attended this week. The seminar focused on sexual education which has a key role in preventing HIV infections. Since half of the world’s population is now under 25, the need for universal, culture sensitive advocacy work around sex education is critical… many examples show that cutting budgets in this area or removing sexual education from the curriculum, even for a short period, leads to an increase in new HIV infections.

As one of the seminar speakers,  MP Ilkka Kantola said, each individual has a right to protect oneself and should be provided with knowledge, skills and care to find the boundaries of ones own sexuality.  Mark Richmond, UNESCO’s global coordinator for HIV/AIDS, emphasised the importance of building coalitions across organisations, states and nations to boost advocacy work as well as the need to identify a variety of needs with in different cultural context. UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education –  released next week – will address this issue by providing guidance to decision makers in education and health as well as teachers and other stakeholders.