In Support of Ontario's New Sexual Education Curriculum
February 25, 2015
Toronto – The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) supports the Ontario Government in its move to update its sexual education curriculum. In addition, ACT encourages Ontario’s teachers to use the new curriculum as a jumping off point to have further conversations about all types of sex, sexual orientation and creative gender identities.
Specifically, ACT applauds the new curriculum's discussions about anal sex. The risk of HIV transmission through anal sex is higher than for vaginal sex, though there are highly effective strategies that can be used to reduce the risk of transmission. With this knowledge Ontario's young adults will be better equipped to make informed decisions about the sex that they are having, or considering having.
Furthermore, ACT hopes that the baseline of sexual education offered in this curriculum generates further discussions on topics that in many cases are not happening in the homes of students.
“Canadian youth are increasingly featured in the national news,” says Dr. Aarti Kapoor, a board member of ACT and physician with Planned Parenthood Toronto. “Headlines vary from cyberbullying-induced suicide to increased rates of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea. The need to empower our youth with accurate knowledge that helps them take control of their lives and bodies is becoming increasingly apparent.”
Opponents of the new curriculum seem to believe that access to accurate and explicit information about sex will encourage teenagers to become sexually active when they would have otherwise abstained. Young women in Toronto between the ages of 15-29 are testing positive for chlamydia at higher rates than any other STI among any other group, demonstrating they are having sex already and would benefit from an updated and responsive sexual education in Ontario’s schools.
Conversations around the practice of safer sex must begin in elementary school and continue through high school to ensure Ontario’s youth are able to craft their own safer sex strategies that are rooted in pleasure and offer protection. Concludes Dr. Kapoor, “Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum is one giant step forward in ensuring that happens.”
AIDS Committee of Toronto
416-340-8484 ext. 225