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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1103-1104
Delivering comprehensive sexuality education among youths to eventually achieve human immunodeficiency virus-free generation


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Delivering comprehensive sexuality education among youths to eventually achieve human immunodeficiency virus-free generation. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1103-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Delivering comprehensive sexuality education among youths to eventually achieve human immunodeficiency virus-free generation. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Nov 20];10:1103-4. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1103/217530


Dear Editor,

The ongoing epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to remain one of the most important global public health concerns that the world is facing for more than three decades.[1] In fact, in 2015, more than 2 million people were newly infected with the virus, and more than 1 million people lost their lives to the attributed complications of the disease.[1] Furthermore, it is quite alarming that despite the availability of the diagnostic tests, still 44% of the people are not aware of their HIV status, and is mostly due to the lack of awareness about the disease or the associated social stigma.[1],[2] In addition, despite the availability of effective drugs, many infected people are not accessing treatment, which is again a failure of the health sector to ensure that at least 90% of the diagnosed people should avail treatment.[1],[2]

Even though, people from all walks of life or social class are affected, the infection is quite predominant among the youth population group, and is one of the key reasons for mortality among them in some of the low-income and middle-income nations.[2] Thus, in the global mission to have a disease-free generation and to respond to the epidemic, it is extremely important to target the youths or the adolescents.[1],[2],[3]

However, owing to the attributes of these population groups (viz., peer pressure, following their role-model, tendency to indulge in high-risk behavior, to have more autonomy, etc.), and the prevailing misconception that they are not at the risk for acquiring the disease despite being sexually active, it is quite a challenging affair for the policy makers to contend with.[2],[3],[4]

In fact, it will not be wrong to say that both their attitude and their practices are often influenced by the sociocultural barriers and the inability of the health sector or other sectors to create awareness about the disease in a more customized way (in a manner with which they can relate it to themselves and are more comfortable in accepting the provided information).[1],[2],[3],[4]

Also, most of the problems can be dealt with at the family level, but more often than not, many parents are not comfortable in talking about sexual health to their children.[3]

In other words, it is quite essential to explore the beliefs about people regarding the disease, and to eventually motivate them to indulge in practices, which will minimize the risk of acquiring the infection through different health education approaches.[2],[3],[4],[5] Although, many strategies have been tried upon in different settings, the best and the most cost-effective approach will be to deliver comprehensive sexuality education to the adolescents/youths in school settings, so that they are well-equipped to protect themselves.[3]

In fact, the United Nations Population Fund is supporting different networks of youth and adolescents to allow the infected people to share their opinion and experience with their peers, so that ignorance of the youths toward the disease can be neutralized.[3] As it is a right for the young people to have an access to precise information about their bodies, including the ways to protect themselves from the disease, provision of sexuality education (including gender equality concept) can play an immense role in improving the existing scenario.[2],[3] Furthermore, at no stage, boys should be overlooked as they have to be aware about the high-risk practices, because they remain a crucial role in spreading of the disease.[3] Also, the mere provision of health education for them will not work, unless it is effectively supplemented with youth-friendly services in the health centers, including a positive attitude of the health workers.[1],[2],[3]

To conclude, in the global mission to ensure that HIV no longer remains a public health concern, there is an immense need to bring about an upsurge in the delivery of comprehensive sexuality education to all the youths and adolescents in different parts of the world.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. HIV/AIDS-Fact Sheet; 2016.Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Aug 8].   Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Onyechi KC, Eseadi C, Okere AU, Otu MS. Effects of rational-emotive health education program on HIV risk perceptions among in-school adolescents in Nigeria. Medicine (Baltimore) 2016;95:e3967.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]    
3.
UNFPA. Upsurge in sexuality education seen in countries with high HIV rates; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/upsurge-sexuality-education-seen-countries-high-hiv-rates. [Last accessed on 2016 Aug 8].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Musumari PM, Tangmunkongvorakul A, Srithanaviboonchai K, Yungyuankul S, Techasrivichien T, Suguimoto SP, et al. Prevalence and correlates of HIV testing among young people enrolled in non-formal education centers in urban Chiang Mai, Thailand: A cross-sectional study. PLoS One 2016;11:e0153452.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
MacLachlan EW, Potter K, Hamunime N, Shepard-Perry MG. Uusiku J, Simwanza R, et al. ”We are now free to speak”: Qualitative evaluation of an education and empowerment training for HIV patients in Namibia. PLoS One 2016;11:e0153042.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.217530

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