Thai Program Provides Sex Education, Including HIV/AIDS Prevention, to Students
Thailand's The Nation on Monday profiled a program in Thailand that uses a "water exchange" to provide students with sex education, including information about HIV/AIDS. According to The Nation, talking about sex often is taboo in the country.
The water exchange involves giving each student a clear bottle of water. One bottle in each class has an invisible chemical substance added to it, which is meant to represent HIV. The students then can exchange water; some students exchange with a number of students while others do so with only one other peer. After the exercise another chemical is added, and if the water turns violet it is meant to represent that the student has contracted HIV. Piyanan Maklohley, a teacher involved in the program, said the activity is a significant subject of discussion among students.
According to The Nation, trainee teachers from 10 universities apply such techniques to create a dialogue about sex among students. They also are taught "sexuality education and learning design," a course adapted from a program created by the global health group PATH. Once completed, the trainees are qualified to teach teenagers sex education, including sexuality, reproductive and sexual health, social values, gender issues, sexual violence, marriage and lifetime commitments, and family issues. Nearly 1,000 trainees have completed the training course, and students in 253 schools across 16 provinces have participated in the education. Waranuch Chinvarasopak, a PATH program officer, said the program wants the Ministry of Education to commit to providing sex education as a separate subject rather than part of hygiene education. "PATH will expand the project to other universities within three years," Waranuch said.
Chintana Vechmee, an assistant professor of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University and coordinator of the group Teenpath, said PATH and the Rajabhat universities started the courses because teens were embarrassed to discuss sex with their teachers or parents. Chintana added that the idea garnered the attention of delegates at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City last month because it is one of the few practical projects in Thailand's schools that deal with HIV prevention (The Nation, 9/22).