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HEADLINE, HEALTH

INCSIDA: TL should include ‘Sex Education’ in High School Curriculum to help prevent HIV/AIDS

INCSIDA: TL should include ‘Sex Education’ in High School Curriculum to help prevent HIV/AIDS

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DILI, 28 december 2023 (TATOLI) – In an exclusive interview with TATOLI, the President of INCSIDA, Daniel Marçal, said that HIV/AIDS cases continue to rise in the country, so one of the best solutions to protect young people from the disease is to involve ‘Sex Education’ in the High School curriculum.

He said that sex education in schools is a crucial intervention that Timor-Leste should promote to increase HIV-related knowledge and shape safer sexual behaviors to help prevent new infections among young people and vulnerable group.

“Clear communication in sex education classes can help students understand how to safeguard themselves from HIV/AIDS,” Marçal to TATOLI, in Dili, today.

Sex Education teaches young students about sex, and all its facets. It can focus on all things to do with sexuality – from anatomy and reproduction, to infections and sexual orientation, among others.

Marçal informed that involving sex education will help young people navigate their personal lives and grow into sexually healthy adults.

President of INCSIDA, Daniel Marcal reported that INCSIDA has registered more than 2,000 cases of HIV/AIDS in the country, of which 1,065 HIV-positive people are on treatment, 577 have abandoned treatment, 200 have died, and around 160 lost to follow-up.

INCSIDA also registered 15 pregnant women infected with HIV/AIDS and 57 children under the age of five who were born to a mother living with HIV.

He said that the cases occurred in all municipalities, with the highest number of cases recorded in Dili with 1,507 infected persons, Bobonaro (113), Covalima (95), Oé-Cusse (62), Baucau (53), Ermera (35), Ainaro (33) and the remaining municipalities recorded more than 10 positive cases.

INCSIDA asks HIV-positive persons to continue taking regular treatment at health centers and not to go for traditional treatments that have no scientific basis, as there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS.

Earlier this month, INCSIDA, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Timor-Leste launched the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Plan to intensify efforts to combat and control the disease in the country.

Globally, only half (52%) of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults where three quarters (76%) are receiving antiretrovirals, according to the data that has just been released in the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022.

UNAIDS reported that around 39 million people globally were living with HIV in 2022.

Around 1.3 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2022 and 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2022. More than 29 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy in 2022.

 

Journalist: Jose Belarmino de Sa

Editor: Filomeno Martins 

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