Sex Ed. Is a MUST! Not just a fuss!

I just returned to Sri Lanka having spent 2 years volunteering at the Thai chapter of the world’s largest youth leadership organization. During this time I was also coordinating a HIV and AIDS awareness program targeting university and high school students in Thailand.

Thailand is well known for sex tourism also has a vibrant MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) community and significant number of injecting drug users. These are the most vulnerable groups among which HIV and AIDS prevalence is at its highest and known as the high risk groups.

Though my work didn’t directly involve dealing with these most vulnerable groups, it did help me to understand the importance of comprehensive education on sexual health at all levels of the system. Let me share with you few examples that highlight this fact.

Once when conducting an awareness raising workshop at a high school for kids approximately 15 years in age, I invited two students to volunteer to show how a condom should be worn using a dildo.  One of them suggested that how to do it was to first unroll the whole condom and then to push it down the dildo.  I couldn’t help but react with a big ‘OUCH’ at the thought.

Later on, I received an international volunteer from Sri Lanka to help run the program in Thailand and at the age of 24 a fresh graduate from University he did not know how to put on a condom properly never mind being able to educate others.

Both these people represent the educated middle to upper middle class considered at low-risk when it comes to dangers such as HIV and AIDS.  But yet they also haven’t received proper education on sexual health and associated topics.  Isn’t that something everyone has to deal with? Isn’t it part of basic education to be given?

Thinking back actually, I myself haven’t received formal education related to topics on sexual health and might be naïve as them if I had not received training on these topics during my years as a volunteer.  In fact I remember that our health studies teacher being a lady did not want to cover even the basics for all-boys class and instead just sent the notes to be read out to the class by a student.  May be things have improved since then? May be not?

Sexuality is especially a big change for a teenager and they should receive education how to handle these changes in their lives and the risks associated. It’s about time to give importance to this topic and make it part of the formal education system rather than just letting high school gossip be the means of education.

To make this happen we need to be innovative in how we bring up topics that are cultural taboos even in modern day society. Use of delivery tools such as games, drama, simulations, multimedia, etc. can play a big support for educators.  Personally, I believe that peer educators who as youth with the correct knowledge and delivery skills can be a very effective means of reaching out to the youth on these topics.

Let’s move forward to ensure that each teenager receives education on sexual health and rights that they are entitled to by calling for comprehensive sex education at schools nationwide. Sex Ed. Is definitely a MUST, not just a fuss!

–          Suchith Abeywickrame

Formally the President of AIESEC in Sri Lanka, Suchith Abeywickrame was almost a graduate of the University of Moratuwa. Suchith volunteered his time, giving leadership to AIESEC at different levels locally and internationally. He was in Thailand during the last two years mentoring the young adults to take up leadership to strive for a better world.


7 Responses to “Sex Ed. Is a MUST! Not just a fuss!”

  1. 2 A July 4, 2009 at 09:34

    yes, no longer can we be ignorant. sex ed must be brought to school curriculumns. I myself is in a team working for HIV AIDS awareness for AIESEC in malaysia

  2. 3 nooranie July 4, 2009 at 09:44

    Thanks Lakpathi and ‘A’ for dropping by 🙂

  3. 4 Anonymous July 4, 2009 at 17:06

    Thanks Lakpathi and ‘A’ for dropping by 🙂
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  4. 5 Milinda July 4, 2009 at 21:18

    Thank you very much for this wonderful article. Lets see why we need comprehensive sexuality education as young people

    More than 111 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and 50% of all new HIV infections
    occur among young people every year.
    – Up to 4.4 million girls aged 15–19 seek abortion, the majority of which are unsafe.
    – 10% of births worldwide are to adolescent mothers, who experience much higher rates of maternal mortality
    than older women.
    – Rates of reported sexual abuse in 19 countries range from 7–34% for girls and 3–29%for boys.
    – Every 5 minutes a young person commits suicide, often due to emotional and social problems related to sexual
    and reproductive health, such as sexual violence and the breakdown of relationships.

    Clearly, there is a strong need for comprehensive sexuality information and education, which seeks to equip young people with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to determine
    and enjoy their sexuality

    • 6 nooranie July 4, 2009 at 21:29

      I clearly agree with you Milinda! We deffinetly need a comprehensive Sex Ed curriculam tought in schools and other in-formal modes.

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