UNESCO unveils video on comprehensive sexuality education for young people

Students attend a sexual and reproductive health workshop provided by the Red Cross in a primary school in San Antonio Las Vegas, a high risk community located on the outskirts of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. Photo: UNICEF/Adriana Zehbrauskas

26 September 2016 – The United Nations cultural agency today released a new video that outlines how comprehensive sexuality education helps young people develop the knowledge and skills to make conscious, healthy and responsible choices about relationships and sexuality.

The Being a Young Person video, released by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), outlines the vital role that comprehensive sexuality education plays in ensuring the sexual and reproductive health of all young people. It is recognized as an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sexuality and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic, non-judgemental information, UNESCO said in a press release.

The video’s release comes after a high-level event at the UN General Assembly in New York, on ‘Improving the Sexual and Reproductive Health of the Adolescent Girl: The Role of First Ladies.’

The event, which was initiated by the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS, brought together heads of State and Government, First Ladies, heads of UN agencies and civil society organizations to increase acceptance and catalyse action on expanding access to sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents across Africa.

Speaking at the event, which was held on 21 September, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova highlighted that comprehensive sexuality education is a foundation for all HIV prevention, and part of every young person’s journey to adulthood.

“It reduces sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unintended pregnancy, improves self-esteem, changing attitudes and both gender and social norms,” the Director-General said.

Being a Young Person: Comprehensive Sexuality Education

An early preview of the video was seen by ministers and representatives from government, development and civil society organizations at a high-level dialogue on the sidelines of the AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, in July. The meeting marked progress since the 2013 Eastern and Southern Africa Ministerial Commitment, in which 20 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa committed to scaling up comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for young people.

A Global Review conducted by UNESCO in 2015 revealed that comprehensive sexuality education leads to improved sexual and reproductive health, resulting in the reduction of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unintended pregnancy. Comprehensive sexuality education not only promotes gender equality and equitable social norms, but has a positive impact on safer sexual behaviours, delaying sexual debut and increasing condom use, UNESCO said.


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