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HIV Prevention through Sex Education
Comprehensive sex education
Comprehensive sex education is an essential part of HIV prevention. This should include training in life skills such as negotiating healthy sexual relationships, as well as accurate and explicit information about how to practise safer sex.
Studies have shown that this kind of comprehensive sex education is more effective at preventing sexually transmitted infections than education that focuses solely on teaching abstinence until marriage.
Facts versus myths
Condoms, if used consistently and correctly, are highly effective at preventing HIV infection. Also there is no evidence that promoting condoms leads to increased sexual activity among young people. Therefore condoms should be made readily and consistently available to all those who need them.
Some societies find it difficult to discuss sex openly, and some authorities restrict what subjects can be discussed in the classroom, or in public information campaigns, for moral or religious reasons. Particularly contentious issues include premarital sex, condom use and homosexuality, the last of which is illegal or taboo in much of the world.
Marginalisation of groups at high risk - such as sex workers and men who have sex with men - can be a major hindrance to HIV prevention efforts; authorities are often unwilling to allocate adequate resources to prevention programmes targeting these groups.
From here you can find out more about what sex education should involve, the debates that surround sex education, information about the importance of sex education for young people as well as lesson plans for teachers and other people working with young people.