AIDS Concern's response to the latest local HIV AIDS situation
(Note: Please click here for English version of the latest statistic)
Latest DH figures show high youth infection rate, again
AIDS Concern: Comprehensive Sexuality Education brooks no delay
Today (26th August), the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health has announced that 150 cases of HIV infections were reported in the second quarter of 2014, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 6646 since 1984.
Of the 150 HIV cases reported in this quarter, 56 people are aged 29 or below. The high number of infections among the young people is alarming. According to Jim Hoe, Programme Manager (Youth Team) of AIDS Concern, it is partly attributed to the deficiency of the current sex education. ‘Although sexual health information is easily accessible on the internet, without relevant guidance, many young people are unable to put the sexual health knowledge into practice. As they do not receive guidance on the communication skills in relationships, they are often unable to decline requests by their partners that endanger their sexual health, putting themselves at risk of HIV infection.
‘A 17-year-old girl I met in a sex education workshop is a perfect case in point. Although she had some basic sexual health knowledge and knew that coitus interruptus is a kind of unsafe sex practice, she still didn’t challenge her boyfriend’s request to have sexual intercourse without a condom because she wanted to entertain him,’ Jim said. This belief that only men can decide whether to use a condom and women should comply to show their love is common among the young people and greatly increases their risk of HIV infection.
Therefore, apart from equipping young people with sufficient sexual health knowledge, AIDS Concern wants to see better education to equip them with appropriate attitudes, values and social skills that are most needed in communicating with their partners, as an ultimate solution to reduce their risk of HIV infection. Hence, AIDS Concern strongly advises that comprehensive sexuality education be established for young people with a positive and open attitude, which covers life skill training topics, including issues such as gender, developing relationships, sex and respect for sexual differences.
To tackle the rising youth infection rate, AIDS Concern has conducted 60 sexuality education workshops for young people in the year 2013-2014. However, considering the large number of at risk youth, the efforts of the government are essential in containing the spread of HIV among young people. Mandy Cheung, Programme Director of AIDS Concern, strongly urges the Education Bureau to review “Guideline on Sex Education in Schools”, which is still used by local schools since 1997 without any amendment. ‘More specific directions and support should be provided for school teachers to establish a clearer standard structure for sex education,’ Mandy said.
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