Minister offers backing for promotion of safe sex

| 19/11/2009

(CNS): The minister for heath has offered his support to proactive sexual health education and the drive to mainstream the idea of safe sexual habits. Mark Scotland said that condoms remain the only readily available and effective way to prevent the spread of HIV – and other sexually transmitted infections – among sexually active people. Opening a workshop on Condom Programming and Promotion in the Prevention of HIV and Unplanned Pregnancies, the minister said that people need to talk about safe sex.

“Parents especially need to be proactively involved, prepared to discuss these ‘taboo’ subjects with teenagers, especially our girls – for they are the most vulnerable. Having difficult conversations now can save a lot of tears later,” Scotland said. “We need to accept that avoiding talk about sex and contraception does not protect anyone. Without frank conversations, we simply have no chance of changing attitudes, yet altering people’s mindsets lies at the heart of the solution."

He said that while HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancies were topics many wish they did not need to discuss, people had to be honest as both are realities in the Cayman Islands and young people are increasingly at risk.

The multi-agency workshop workshop is a collaboration by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the ministry, intended to strengthen Cayman’s national family planning and reproductive health programmes. GIS stated that the main objective of the three-day workshop was to increase awareness and understanding of reproductive health issues. Participants include government health officials as well as representatives from non-governmental agencies such as the Red Cross.

“This workshop is timely and important, and will help to ensure that our health care workers remain ahead of the curve when it comes to prevention,” Scotland added.

UNFPA Country Coordinator and workshop facilitator Mario Aguilar said the UN organization focuses on improving women’s quality of life. “While we will talk a lot about condoms during this workshop, our aim is to reduce infant mortality, reduce unwanted pregnancies (including teenage pregnancy), and reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS.”

The workshop agenda includes promoting condom use, implementing effective HIV prevention activities and helping people to change risky practices, such as having unprotected sex.

While on island, Aguilar will also assess Cayman’s national HIV, sexual and family planning programmes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Health

About the Author ()

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Carolina Ferreira says:

     It is heartening to see the number of positive responses to this story.  Increasing the visibility and availability of condoms is a great first step, but one that will only prove effective if we ensure that it is backed by education.  The decision to have, or not have, sex is not made in a vacuum. Issues of self-esteem/self worth, personal values and beliefs, communication and negotiation skills, and practical condom skills (there is, after all, a right and wrong way of using a condom) have to be a part of that dialogue along with facts on pregnancy, STIs and abstinence.

     I would like to encourage those who have voiced their agreement to this open approach to not be the silent/anonymous (majority? minority?) and to get involved. Learn the facts, ask the questions, access the condoms, or be vocal in your endorsement of work that is being done to achieve this goal. 

    The Red Cross and the Cayman AIDS Foundation provide not only the condoms, but also the information and support to individuals.  And yes, we can teach you how to use a condom correctly as well J.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Condoms need to be available in the supermarkets next to the bandages and pain-killers.  The need to go and ask a pharmacist is killing people.

  3. what a mess says:

    Thank you Mark!

    For stepping up to the plate here with this most important initiative.
    And thanks to Ezzard also for his work in this area back in the 80s and 90s

    We all know that preaching abstinence alone does not work as people will have sex…so while the churches and some others may call for abstinence, the rest of us (including Govt.) can also promote safe sex practices. As a people we can promote both abstinence and safe sex!

    Well done!

    • Just Sayin says:

      If Ezzards "work" on this in the 80’s and 90’s had done any good, surely it would not now be a problem. Masturbation is the way to go. No risk there, other than blindness, or so my mother tells me.

      • Anonymous says:

        CNS, can you make the font a bit bigger please, I’m having trouble reading this.

      • what a mess says:

        Just because some good work is done, does not mean the job is finished. My point is to acknowledge what has been and is being accomplshed to help move Cayman in the direction of sex education.And to help people talk more freely about sex. Anytime someone (especially top level people such as Politicians/Health ministers) talk openly to promote sex/health education…helps!

        Your point is?

  4. The Cayman Pastor says:

    SATAN’S WORK is upon us!!!  Stone the fornicators and purify their souls with the Fire of the Lord! 

    Nobody can be having s-e-x without the official sanction of me, the keeper of God’s word (and I’ll tell you what it is, don’t bother trying to read about it). 

    NO hanky-panky unless I say so through granting the bonds of holy matrimony.  Satan lives in your underwear! Don’t let him out!

    Don’t forget to leave a $50 in the plate on the way out.

    I’m here all week.

  5. Anonymous says:

    About time and long overdue. Many of our young people have no morals for whatever reason and we have children having children with no regard for their futures or the futures of their children.

  6. anonymous says:

    Thanks Mr. Scotland!

    This is very good news. For much too long we in Cayman have been unwilling to talk freely about sex…something that we all engage in regularly. Hopefully the churches and schools will endorse this message.

    This is some good news indeed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is commendable. Abstinence is not widely accepted amongst many people in Cayman, and we know this by simply looking at the increase in STD rates an teen pregnancy. Even with the risks which almost everyone is aware of, people will still have sex. So why not support safe sex? It makes sense since we know people will be sexually active regardless.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to Mr. Scotland for this initiative. Just a few weeks ago I was giving praises to Mr. Ezzard Miller for his actions while he was Minister for Health in the 1980’s when he promptly acknowledged the AIDS epidemic and aggressively addressed local measures of mitigating the spread thereof. The education campaign undertaken at that time and measures such as taking condoms from ‘under the counter’ and making them readily  accessible must surely be credited with keeping our AIDS statistics as relatively low as they are. Mr. Miller deserves full credit for that action then and perhaps he maybe silently ‘guiding’ Mr. Scotland.  If so, no harm, that’s how it should be. In any case, complacency has set in worldwide about AIDS and Cayman is no different, so Mr. Scotland’s actions are quite timely and appropriate. Thanks Minister Mark.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard is incapable of "silently guiding" anyone!!!! Guiding, maybe, silently, never, ordering-YES!!

  9. Anon says:

    This is a great promotion, kudos to Mark Scotland for implementing the idea. 

    Will they be handing out free condoms?

    No I’m not after any freebies but HIV/AIDS, Sex Counselling and condoms are available to the youths at any time for free from General Practitioners and at Family Planning Clinics in England, in an effort to promote safe sex, AIDS/HIV awareness and to help to reduce teenage pregnancies (which are rampant in the UK).  In addition to learning about the practice of safe sex and being able to obtain condoms, the youngsters have the benefit of being able to speak to a knowledgeable adult about personal issues that most would be reluctant to discuss with their parents or other family members.

    • MDU says:

      Free condoms are available at the District Clinics, Public Health and General Practice at the hospital.Just ask….They are sometimes distributed in the night clubs and bars on Health Promotion.

      Just that alot of people are a bit timid to ask or to recieve.

  10. Sex is not a four-letter word says:

    Wow, how progressive. Great to see this.

    Wait, have Pastor Al and Rev. Sykes given government permission to do this? Uh oh, somebody is going to be in trouble with the Cayman Inquisition. Come to think of it, didn’t the preachers have something about forbidding sex education and birth control inserted into our new medieval constitution? Somebody better check. It wouldn’t be surprising.