AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) Supports Sexual Health Education in Schools

ACT urges Ontario government to listen to experts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2010

TORONTO – The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) expressed disappointment today that the provincial government will reconsider proposed new physical health education curriculum that would have taught students earlier about sexual health, including HIV prevention.

“Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise among young people in our city,” says Hazelle Palmer, executive director of ACT. “Students need accurate information about sexual health earlier, to empower them to make informed choices.”

According to a 2003 study by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, knowledge about HIV/AIDS has declined among Canadian youth. Two-thirds of Grade 7 students and half of Grade 9 students thought there was a cure for AIDS. This represented a decline in knowledge since a previous study in 1989. The proposed new curriculum would have addressed HIV/AIDS starting in Grade 7.

“All students in Ontario deserve access to accurate and age-appropriate education about their sexual health,” says John Maxwell, director of policy and communications at ACT. “We are calling on the provincial government to maintain the proposed curriculum, developed by experts in physical health and education. Cancelling it now will impede efforts to reduce current rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Andrew Brett
ACT Communications Coordinator
416-340-8484 ext. 225
abrett@actoronto.org