KAMPALA, Uganda–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CSE–To commemorate the International Day of the African Child 2022, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Africa Bureau will host a series of events to launch its “#ProtectTheChild” campaign. This theme highlights the need for access to age-appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education as essential for preventing HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies among adolescents and young people across Sub-Saharan Africa. The campaign is in response to the pushback and contention that often plague conversations and implementation around Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), mainly from governments, parents, teachers, and religious leaders because it is believed to encourage sexual activity.
On the contrary, Comprehensive Sexuality Education has been proven to have immense benefits for young people’s health and overall well-being in spaces where they exist. According to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) factsheet, which pooled findings from extensive research across the globe, including Sub-Saharan Africa, access to CSE decreased the number of young people engaging in sexual intercourse early and promoted positive attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health. Furthermore, it reduced risky behaviours and strengthened young people’s self-awareness and knowledge to refuse unwanted sex, negotiate condom use, prevent HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancies and tackle harmful gender norms.
“Globally, we are faced with alarming rates of HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies among young people -exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – which is indicative to a large extent of a gap in accurate knowledge, lifeskills and information,” said Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF’s Africa Bureau Chief. “CSE is a fundamental part of the right to health and when we support the availability and accessibility to appropriate health-related information, we demonstrate a respect for young people’s rights to be informed, healthy and live in dignity, which are critical for individual and community well-being.”
AHF Africa will host various live and virtual activities across its 13 country programs to engage key stakeholders, community leaders, parents, teachers and young people on the importance of investing in CSE, and galvanise community support towards implementation in schools and communities.
“The notion that implementing CSE programs encourages sexual activity or promiscuity is flawed and not grounded in science because evidence shows otherwise. Besides, CSE covers wide-ranging areas beyond sex that are vital for positive physical and emotional development, such as abstinence, gender equality, human rights, GBV, Sexual Reproductive Health, HIV and STIs, among others,” added Dr. Iutung. “This campaign is timely and aligns closely with the Day of the African Child (DAC) theme of ‘Eliminating Harmful Practices that affect Children…’ It is our call-to-action to the African community on the need to work together to ensure that adolescents and young people everywhere have access to age-appropriate CSE that can empower them to make informed protective choices and meaningfully contribute to national development.”
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
AFRICA BUREAU MEDIA CONTACT:
Oluwakemi Gbadamosi, Director, Advocacy, Policy & Marketing
US MEDIA CONTACT
Denys Nazarov, Director of Global Policy &