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UN Drafts Controversial Sex Ed Guidelines

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.

Image Source: Getty
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SKC-Sparkle SKC-Sparkle 8 years
I agree with you Briandiesel
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
What does this have to do with religion period?! Yes people, hide your heads under the pillow and act like none of the things you don't want to discuss exist. That'll make them go away and probably get easier to deal with. Don't you dare think about education and tolerance!
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
I remember having sex ed in 5th grade and then again in 8th grade. It preached abstinence and safe sex. In 8th grade, they even had boys and girls practice putting condoms on plastic models. Teen pregnancy wasn't really an issue in my high school. There was the occasional parent who threw a fit about their child learning this and the child would have to go to study hall instead of sex ed, but overall it wasn't a problem. Why are religious groups in the US complaining about a worldwide sex ed program? Obviously there are people/places who don't practice what is being done here in the US. Sex ed is not a once size fits all, the UN came up with guidelines, if a guideline does not work for a given country or even subpopulation of that country, the sex ed can be tailored. To not offer any guidance is irresponsible. For countries with rampant AIDS problems (there are cities in Africa where 50% of the population is HIV positive), sex education is needed! I read an article a few years back that certain tribes in africa were teaching the men that sleeping with a virgin would cure them of aids/HIV. There was a spike in rapes of prepubescent girls and a subsequent increase in HIV/AIDS. The article had interviewed girls as young as 9 or 10 who were raped walking home from school and had contracted the disease. That is horrifying! The article covered the plight of humanitarian groups trying to teach the use of condoms to the local tribes and how it upset government officials who thought that condoms were a western trap to reduce population growth. Thank goodness things are changing. If the UN can prevent/slow the spread of HIV/AIDS by increasing sex ed around the world and teaching safe sex and abstinence (since not everyone believes in abstinence), then I don't think we should stand in the way of that.
fashionplate525 fashionplate525 8 years
Growing up, the little bit of Sex Ed. I received in school made me uncomfortable and was embarrassing. I wish there was a better way to implement the important information!
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I dunno about teaching five year olds about masturbation. I'd wait until the class was hitting puberty before bringing that up. But covering everything about safe sex, your rights as a person to say no, and keeping it in your pants if you have an infection (of any sort) seems like a brilliant idea. Most people I know don't practise either safe sex or abstinence and end up falling pregnant or getting STI's because of it. Its not the lack of education (because it was there) it was the fact that the importance of safe sex/abstinence was never stressed. Most kids I know don't understand that if you wear a condom you're less likely to fall pregnant. (One kid didn't even think about other options when her boyfriend was allergic to latex) If the UN wants a comprehensive education plan for kids, why not? You can't just preach one set of ideas and expect it to work perfectly.
Burkina Burkina 8 years
Teens just want to rebel. You tell them something and they'll do another. You have to cover all bases, like safe sex. Waiting until marriage isn't for everyone.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Guess what? Areas in which they teach abstinence only have actually seen a rise in unwanted teen pregnancies, so I guess it's not working. Why not open your mind and try something else for a while?
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