Target: Governments of Panama, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela
Goal: Ensure sexual education for the public, and promote the idea that sex education is a right that should be exercised by all
There is a movement sweeping across Latin America that teaches a paradigm shift—rather than thinking of sexual education as a medical issue, it should be considered a human rights issue. “Sexuality needs to be thought of in terms of pedagogy and human rights. We need to move from a medical approach to a more educational approach,” explained Mirta Marina, coordinator of Argentina’s National Programme for Comprehensive Sex Education.
Latin America is “going through a process of development” regarding sexual education, but “it still has many restrictions, mostly because of the conservatism that has been passed down for centuries, which makes it difficult to talk about these matters with the family and at school,” Marina said to IPS News.
Statistics from the Latin American region hint at the severity of the situation and great need for significant changes in sexual education policy. United Nations data shows that in Latin America, approximately 68,000 adolescents (ages 10 to 19 years old) are infected with HIV/AIDS. Globally, more than fifty percent of new HIV cases are diagnosed in young men and women between the age of 15 and 24 years old. In the six-month period between January and July 2012, approximately 1,448 young girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in Guatemala. And in Bolivia, the teen pregnancy rate increased by 25 percent between 2008 and 2011.
A combined 56 health and education ministries across the Caribbean and Latin America signed a 2008 treaty promising to cut the number of adolescents without access to sexual healthcare in half, and significantly reduce the number of schools that do not provide comprehensive sexual education. Although this is a promising step forward, the statistics display the dire need for extended progress—the nations of Panama, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela have not been successful in implementing these strategies and must be urged to do so. For this very reason, professionals across Latin America believe that sexual and reproductive rights ought to be an innate human right, guaranteed to all—everyone should be equipped with the information necessary to protect themselves.
Sign below to encourage Latin American nations that still need to successfully implement policies to protect the reproductive and sexual health of the public, and promote the idea that reproductive and sexual education is a basic human right.
Dear Governments of Panama, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela,
Sexual education is proven to curb rates of teen pregnancy and contraction of HIV/AIDS. Knowledge of reproductive health and an informed outlook on sexual processes and possible complications (including sexually transmitted diseases) significantly improve quality of life. For this reason, sexual education should be an inherent right—a human right—guaranteed to all.
The 2008 agreement made between Latin American nations (with goals to increase medical access for young people to care for their sexual well-being, and to decrease the number of schools that do not offer sexual education) is well meaning and undoubtedly a step in the right direction. However, studies show that the nations of Panama, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela have not been successful in implementing policies to effect these changes.
Now is the time to step up and make the policy and implementation changes necessary to ensure that knowledge of sexual health is not limited.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alamy Images