Letter to the Editor: Can sex education counteract rise of STIs?

Letter to the Editor: Can sex education counteract rise of STIs?

As the final hours approached for making submissions to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), Dr Caroline West encouraged readers to support proposals that would empower students to make “informed decisions that are right for them’ — ‘High time our sex education reflected modern Irish society” (Irish Examiner, October 25).

She claims this is an “opportunity to have comprehensive sex education that empowers young people instead of failing them”; “Ireland has a new HIV diagnosis every 18 hours, STIs are on the increase”, and “young people are consistently telling us they need information and support around sex education”.

According to Dr West, by endorsing programmes adopted by other countries, a more holistic and happier experience of sex and sexuality in Ireland would result.

On checking the figures across the Irish Sea, I discovered that in 2018 England alone had 56,258 new cases of gonorrhea, an increase of 26% on those of the previous year.

New cases of chlamydia were running at 218,095, 49% of the total 447,694 new STIs diagnosed there.

As chlamydia has the potential to permanently damage a woman’s reproductive system, this is one infection unlikely to enhance women’s reproductive choices.

If, as the saying goes, “knowledge is power”, the youth of Ireland might be far more empowered in their decisions by being given a realistic picture of the long-term effects of the sexual revolution in other countries.

If the single case of England is anything to go by, the experience isn’t quite as happy and holistic as Dr West would have us believe.

Rory O’Donovan

Killeens

Cork

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