Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said on Friday that his ministry intends to introduce sex education into the high school curriculum. He is, however, aware that the initiative could receive a lot of pushback from conservatives.
The announcement came as the Bahamas AIDS Secretariat offered free HIV testing at Victoria Gardens yesterday. The testing comes less than one month after a report listed the country as number one in the region for HIV/AIDS transmission.
The report also noted an increase in new cases among the youth.
“When we start to get into what exactly we do in the schools and how do we liberalize and get access to birth control and other types of family planning tools it is really gone to get hot,” Dr. Sands said.
“Because you’re going to buck heads with a number individual who feels that maybe were pushing an agenda which is going to encourage promiscuity but that is clearly not the case. I think what we have to do to ensure that not a single additional Bahamian is not HIV infected.”
Dr. Sands also insisted that the message to Bahamian youth should change from abstinence to safe sex.
“We like to pretend like Bahamians don’t have sex,” he said.
“We like to pretend if we do have sex that is always responsible sex or protected and that is truly not the case. We see a significant amount of teen pregnancies and we are seeing not only HIV but syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and other sexually transmitted infections.
“Part of this has to do with the fact that we have not been real about the conversation particularly with our young people and so they operate with misinformation.”