Portada educación sexual sida

Sex education: a path to AIDS prevention

How many of you have received any lectures or training about sexuality in your life?

We are sure that if any of us had received a sex education in our childhood and adolescence, many of the problems or bad times we have experienced in this area would have been better resolved.

Sexuality education is now unfortunately becoming increasingly relevant for very negative reasons and that unwanted pregnancies and, above all, the spread of viral diseases such as HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and AIDS (HIV) are on the rise.

What is sex education?

According to the World Health Organization, sexuality “is a central aspect of the human being, present throughout life. It encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, reproduction and sexual orientation.

Therefore, sex education is defined as the set of educational activities that teach the individual about human sexuality, sex and sexual health.

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Within sex education, knowledge of anatomy, biology and physiology of the male and female reproductive system, sexual orientation and its implications, as well as sexual and reproductive rights are covered. Also the areas of sexual relations and their consequences, gender studies and the acceptance of diversity, two more important points today, if we take into account the social problem of male violence and homophobia.

If we take into account all these areas involved in sex education, we can consider that “rather than knowledge acquisition, sex education should promote open thinking about sex and its terminology with the aim of developing positive attitudes towards sex, sexuality and sexual health”.

Sexual health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as:”Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relations, as well as the possibility of pleasant and safe sexual experiences, free from coercion, discrimination and violence. To obtain and maintain sexual health, people’s rights must be respected and protected.

Particular emphasis is placed on the fact that it must have a positive approach (it must not be taboo) and above all free, pleasant and safe.

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This last aspect is where more effort is needed at the moment, because viral diseases such as AIDS are rebounding, especially among the youngest. According to Dr. Andeyro,”Half of teens have sex without using any contraceptive method, and those who do so often do it incorrectly.

As UNESCO points out, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has not been eradicated and young people remain disproportionately exposed. UNESCO’s 2016 Strategy for Health and Well-being highlights that young people aged 15-24 make up 16 per cent of the world’s population, but also 34 per cent of the 15-49-year-olds who get HIV each year. In many settings, new HIV infections among adolescents and young women are significantly higher than among men of the same age.

New Sex Games

One of the main problems we face when talking about sex and youth is that, as experts point out, today’s young people have lost their fear and respect for sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.

Proof of this are the sexual fashions that increasingly end up taking women and men aged 15 to 24 to hospital consultations “We have seen this and it is alarming in the adolescent unit. We have gone from taking care of two or three cases a year to having 10 children in one quarter. A barbarity,”explains Pilar Lafuente, a gynecologist at La Paz Hospital, who says that minors want to be adults too soon, without knowing what a sexual relationship entails and without parental control. “The problem is that unconsciousness and immaturity come together. With a good basic sex education this doesn’t happen,”says Ana Lombardy, a psychologist and sexologist.

Some of those fashionable sex games like the so-called “muelle” involve orgies with more men than women in them, where young women are the most exposed. Viral diseases such as HIV or human papillomavirus can become dormant and even develop years later. So they may be unintentionally infecting and not knowing that they have the disease for a long time until they develop the disease. HPV has a high percentage of leading to cancer.

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From this unconsciousness and lack of sexual education, data is derived from the fact that one in four new cases of HIV in Spain occurs among children under the age of 30.

Unicef warns that new HIV transmission in adolescents could increase by 60% by 2030 and adds “Every two minutes, another adolescent, most likely a girl, will get HIV. AIDS remains one of the leading causes of death among adolescents, killing 41,000 children aged 10-19 in 2015.

WHO also warns that AIDS infections have increased by 7% in Europe, the highest figure since the 1980s.

Sex education is a parental responsibility

As we have said, sex education does not cease to be a preparation of the human being to be conscious and responsible for his sexual role. As rational beings, we need to be aware of our sexuality and the consequences that its practices can bring.

The subject of sexuality and sex must be approached very naturally by the parents, it is not necessary to wait for them to meet him or her through friendships, television or the Internet.

It is true that sexuality is very complex, but in this matter there can be no taboos, no subject can be banned. It depends on our intelligence that we are able to establish a clear communication that serves to educate our children properly.

Don’t forget that talking about sex is not just a conversation, it’s a learning process.

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