Is it possible to have an international standard for sexual education? The United Nations thinks so. The new global sex ed guidelines, to be handed out to education ministries, school systems, and teachers, are designed to help reduce the number of HIV and STD infections around the world, but some find them to be too explicit or culturally insensitive.
Religious groups, primarily based in the US, object to the following guidelines: recommending a discussion of homosexuality, presenting abstinence as only one option available to young people, and suggesting a discussion about masturbation with children as young as 5-years-old.
The UN's global coordinator for HIV and AIDS has a response for the critics. He said: "In the absence of a vaccine for AIDS, education is the only vaccine we have." If they might save lives, it seems that the guidelines are worth a shot, even if one size doesn't fit all.