In February 2022, there were 1,054 confirmed HIV-positive individuals reported to the HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) and were accounted to the total (96,266)reported cases since January 1984. Moreover, 28% (297) of individuals reported in February had advanced HIV infection at the time of testing.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality. It goes beyond simply providing education about reproduction, risks and diseases by also addressing positive sexuality and relationships, and the broader sociocultural and gender influences on sexual and reproductive health, with an emphasis on developing life skills. School-based age-appropriate CSE is an effective means of reaching a large population of children and young people, particularly where rates of school participation are high. This overview of the status of in-school CSE in Asia and the Pacific provides a strong evidence base on the reach and impact of this across the region.
This summary review comes with a package of five factsheets and six videos. The factsheets shed light on different aspects of school-based CSE: enabling framework, curriculum, teacher’s preparedness, monitoring and assessment, and needs of young people.
Since the framework was launched, UNAIDS and partners have reported annually on progress towards achieving these targets. Since the deadline for achieving the targets passed in December 2020, this is the final Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free progress report. Although the targets were global, partners identified 23 countries for intensified focus under the framework. This report specifically highlights progress against the targets in focus countries.
The right to education and the right to health are core human rights and are essential for social and economic development. Now, more than ever, it is important to make all schools places that promote, protect and nurture health; that contribute to wellbeing, life skills, cognitive and socioemotional skills and healthy lifestyles in a safe learning environment. Such schools are more resilient and better able to ensure continuity in education and services, beyond the delivery of literacy and numeracy.
‘My boyfriend is pressuring me to have sex, how do i say no?’
‘What is love?’
‘What does it mean if I am a girl and I find other girls attractive?’
‘What is HIV and how can I protect myself?’
These are common questions that young people are either too afraid to ask or lack the comprehensive knowledge, supportive attitudes and life skills they need to make these decisions about their lives and bodies safely and responsibly. Sexuality is a fundamental part of human life. Every young person will have to make decisions that impacts their sexual and reproductive health, and wellbeing. That is why comprehensive sexuality education is so important.
Digital media are increasingly influencing the lives of young people. Around the world, adolescents and young people are using digital media as a platform to learn, experience, and communicate. Across Asia, and increasingly in the Pacific, young people use smartphones, tablets and computers to engage in diverse online activities, such as social networking, instant messaging/texting, and browsing websites/search engines. This connectivity creates both positive opportunities to access sexual and reproductive health information but also challenges on many fronts.
We need to ensure a balance between protecting adolescents (age 10-19 years) from harm and respecting their agency and right to sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
This factsheet addresses the issue of ‘rights versus protection’ through (1) Laws related to age of marriage; (2) age of consent to sex; and (3) age of consent to services.These laws which are intended to protect young people also need to incorporate adolescents’ agency and context of their lives. Adolescents’ agency needs to be at the centre of efforts to develop and implement legislation that impacts their lives.
Health services play an important role in reducing preventable poor health and supporting young people to make a healthy transition into adulthood. While many countries in Asia and the Pacific have made considerable progress towards effective coverage, and to some extent equitable coverage, of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, progress has not been realised for adolescents (age 10-19 years). Many national universal health coverage programmes exclude SRH services that are of particular priority and importance for adolescents. As a result, young people (age 15-24 years) continue to have a high unmet need for essential SRH services and coverage is particularly low among rural, less educated, poorer, and marginalised young people. This factsheet summarizes key recommendations to improve the inclusion of adolescents and young people in universal health coverage.