Africa Approved Sex Education Curriculum to Combat Rocketing HIV Infection

The National Council on Education has approved the introduction of sexuality and HIV/AIDS education as part of the new national curriculum for public schools in response to growing concern about the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) among students.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), the HIV infection rate has reached an alarming rate. Statistics has shown that the worst hit are on the youths, which is considered to be the foundation of a nation’s future. World Health Organization estimates that worldwide, one out of 20 adolescents contract a STD each year. Also, one-fifth of people worldwide with AIDS are in their twenties, indicating that they probably contracted the AIDS virus during their adolescence.

Possible reason for the situation is the negligence of appropriate sexual health education for youngster. In Africa, it is a common practice to shield young people from receiving education about their sexuality because of the belief that such access will encourage them to become sexually active. They may also become morally loose having being exposed to practical sex that may not result in pregnancy.

However, from The Sexuality Information and Education Council of United States (SIECUS) statistics, without proper sex education, 7 out of every 10 males and 5 out of every 10 females attending secondary school in Nigeria are sexually active. Two out of every 5 secondary school girls interviewed admitted to at least one previous pregnancy. Illegally induced abortion is described as a schoolgirls' problem in Nigeria.

The Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, who addressed an Expanded Life Planning Education in Abuja, Africa, added that the decision to introduce family life and HIV/AIDS education was based on the conviction that the method would be effective in checking the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Currently, the National Council on Education has ratified the curriculum for use at the appropriate levels in Nigerian schools, colleges and tertiary institutions.

Professor Osuji, announced that Nigerian universities would commence postgraduate studies in reproductive and sexuality education to provide professionals that would implement the sexuality and HIV/AIDS curriculum at all levels of education in the country.

Some has worried about the policy may be sensitive to Christians and Muslim sentiments. Actually, more Christian Health organizations are setting up to help to provide health support and education in recent years. In Nigeria, Anti-STDs/ AIDS Youth International (ASAYI) and Fellowship of Christian Students Aid for AIDS and Design for the Family, are some of the examples that are actively involved.