Feature story

Leaders pledge to promote sexual health to stop HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean

03 August 2008

Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

At the conclusion of the 1st Meeting of Ministers of Education and Health to prevent HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, Ministers of Education and Health have signed an historic declaration pledging to provide comprehensive sex education as part of the school curriculum in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ministerial Declaration

The Ministers committed to promoting concrete actions for HIV prevention among young people in their countries by implementing sex education and sexual health promotion programmes.

The sex education programmes will cover a broad range of topics including biological information, social and cultural information with discussion on gender, diversity of sexual orientation and identity along with ethics and human rights.

The Declaration also recognized the responsibility of the State to promote human development, including education and health, as well as to combat discrimination.

Promoting sexual health to impact HIV prevention

The meeting took place on 1 August 2008 and was co-hosted by Dr. José Ángel Córdova Villalobos (México), Minister of Health and Lic. Josefina Vázquez Mota (Mexico), Minister of Public Education in collaboration with Canciller Patricia Espinosa Cantellano (México), Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot and UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Thoraya Ahmed Obaid delivered an address on HIV prevention on behalf of the UN System.

The Ministerial meeting was preceded by a technical meeting held on 31 July. Advisors to the Ministers of Health and Education, technical experts from UN agencies, academics and civil society representatives discussed a broad range of issues around comprehensive sexuality education and HIV prevention.

Discussions took place in three regional working groups and included analysis of the barriers to strengthening sexuality education and sexual health promotion programmes and how to enhance collaboration between the Ministries of Health and Education.