Proponents have called for improving the Family Life and HIV Education (FLHE) taught in junior secondary schools, insisting young people need information and tools to protect themselves from both HIV and unintended pregnancy.
FLHE being taught in some states is burdened with censorship which restricts the breadth or depth of topics teachers can share with students, Jennifer Amadi, founder of the Knit Together Initiative in Rivers state said.
“In most states, including Rivers where I work, when Family Life and HIV Education is taught at all in schools, the lessons tend to focus only on abstinence,” Amadi wrote to mark the World AIDS Day.
“Young people are told of the dangers of HIV and early pregnancy, but given no information on modern contraception, HIV prevention or where to go to seek preventative health services,” she said.
Research suggests comprehensive family life education increases the age at first sexual debut for young people.
In the absence of knowledge, the reality is growing rates of adolescent pregnancy and early marriage.
At least three in four women in the Northwest begin childbearing during adolescence; in the Southwest, it is one in three women.
Amadi said young people need support to attain their aspirations. “That means helping them stay healthy and stay in school by helping them stay HIV negative and postpone parenthood until a time when they are ready.”
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