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Sexual health and human rights as a paradigm for youth sexual education

Sexual health and human rights as a paradigm for youth sexual education

In 2011, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) approved the constitution of the Youth Initiative Committee (YIC), which gathers young sexual health advocates from different countries. The mission of the Youth Initiative is to contribute to youth’s sexual health and sexual rights through a fuller participation of youth in WAS governance, policies and activities.The aim of this contribution is to illustrate the YIC activities that uses human rights as a paradigm in the sexual education.

The methods used by the YIC are roundtable, seminars, group discussion with youths and participation in Social Networks (SNS). Since its establishment, YIC was actively present in the most important sexual health events in the world, involving local youths. Youth are crucial to the improvement of sexual health and have to be seen as the most important resource to reinforce an idea of sexuality as based on gender equality and self-determination. The active presence in Facebook, Twitter and Youtube guarantees the possibility for many youths to know that YIC exists and to continuously receive update information on sexual health.

Overcoming the multitude of barriers that teens face in accessing sexual and other types of health services, online approaches, including SNS, have the potential to engage diverse segments of the population and provide youths with the resources they need to navigate their adolescence and avoid pregnancy and STIs.Young people need both informal and formal sexuality education. The two should not be opposed; they complement each another. The program offered by the YIC tries to involve the youths in the sexual health, enhancing youth advocacy. The reinterpretation of youths as active sexual health subjects, instead of only as sexual education recipients, may contribute to a social climate that is tolerant, open and respectful towards sexuality, various lifestyles, attitudes and values.