Sex Education Bans Hinder India’s Efforts To Curb Spread of HIV, NACO Official Says
Banning sex education in Indian schools hinders the country's efforts to fight the spread of HIV, National AIDS Control Organisation Director-General Sujatha Rao said on Wednesday, Reuters reports (Zaheer, Reuters, 5/17). Recent attempts by the Indian government to promote sex education in schools have caused a debate between some educators who say that sex education will reduce the spread of HIV and opponents who say it will corrupt young people. India's government wants the country's 29 states and seven federally administered regions to fight the spread of HIV by promoting knowledge about safer-sex practices.
The governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have banned sex education in public schools, saying that the education modules are too explicit and that some photographs are too graphic. The southern states of Karnataka and Kerala also are considering bans (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/15). According to Reuters, Chhattisgarh also will not implement a sex education curriculum.
"There will be a huge negative impact if you don't provide sex education, given the vulnerability of young people" to HIV/AIDS, Rao said in a speech to members of parliament. Her comments come one day before NACO plans to present to the Cabinet its HIV/AIDS prevention plan that requests about $2 billion in government funding through 2012, Reuters reports. India has recorded 165,000 AIDS cases, about 50,000 of which occur among people ages 15 to 29. "Some people are in denial that young people experiment with sex," Rao said, adding, "They need to get real." NACO's HIV/AIDS plan will focus on prevention and increasing the number of people with access to first-line antiretroviral drugs (Reuters, 5/17).