NGO survey shows need to improve sex education

A survey undertaken by the NGO Action for Children has found that 46% of 11 to 17-year-olds in
Lima know “little” or “nothing” about sexuality. Under 8% rated their knowledge on the issue as “good”.
 The results are strongly linked to socio-economic groups, with poorer teenagers less likely to know about sex. It was found that about half of families discuss sexual issues with their children, but in many cases the parents are embarrassed by the topic or by their own lack of knowledge, or think it wrong to discuss sex before their children reach adulthood. Most family sexual education is the work of the mother. 

Of the 414 adolescents who took part in the survey, the majority thought that the right age to start sexual relations was 19 or 20. 92% claim to know what AIDS is and 97% think it the most dangerous sexually transmitted disease, although only 59% are clear on how it is spread. 73% would be unwilling to lend items of clothing to an HIV sufferer.  Action for Children states that parents and teachers do not realise the importance of discussing sexuality with children, citing the high percentages of those who had received information who found it useful in clearing up doubts and uncertainties. The alternative, said a spokesperson for the NGO, is to allow the spread of taboos, myths and false ideas that all too often result in teenage pregnancy, backstreet abortions, and the spread of STDs. 

He added “we cannot carry on ignoring to need to educate adolescents about sex, explaining to them that the start of ones sex life is not a test of maturity but rather the beginning of a responsible stage in life.”

Adapted from Andina

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