Talk sex & contraception to teens, minister says

| 18/09/2010

(CNS): The minister for health has warned that Cayman’s seemingly low rates of HIV infection offer a unique challenge because too many people think HIV/AIDS is not a priority issue for the island. Mark Scotland warned that current sexual behaviours had to change otherwise the disease will become an increasingly serious problem. In his opening remarks at the EC/OCT steering committee meeting on HIV/AIDS in Caribbean Overseas Territories, he said parents and the community had to start speaking about the taboos associated with teenage sexual behaviour including contraception.

“We need to accept that avoiding talking about sex and contraception does not protect anyone – on the contrary it fails all,” Scotland told the delegates gathered at the Marriott on Thursday morning for the two day meeting. “When it comes to sexually transmitted disease young people are especially vulnerable. It is then no surprise that they are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Studies reveal that in the Caribbean, most people become infected in their teens and early 20s”.
He said the health ministry was actively supporting the activist groups in the Cayman Islands that were speaking out against stigmatization while and was also support regular testing. Scotland stated that parents also had to be involved in national strategies to tackle the problem.
He said governments had to reach out to them and empower them to be proactively involved. “Most will agree that HIV/AIDS is a difficult topic and parents need help discussing these ‘taboo’ subjects with their teenagers,” he said. “So many times we withhold essential information from our young people, fearing that they might misinterpret or misuse it, but we need to give them more credit. As such, my ministry will continue to support the drive for sexual health education because when it comes to HIV/AIDS, ignorance is never bliss.”
Another key challenge, he pointed to not just in Cayman but across the region was dispelling the myth that the epidemic is just a ‘health’ issue. “It is clear to me that an effective response to HIV must be based on the involvement of all societal sectors, including health, education, social welfare, finance and the highest levels of the executive,” Scotland told the delegates.
“We need to honestly ask ourselves why – with all our knowledge and with global, regional and local awareness campaigns and prevention programmes – communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS are on the increase,” the minster said adding that eh believed part of the response lies in changing views and perceptions at the individual level. “We must include frank conversations about personal responsibility.
People must understand the importance of regular testing, of practicing safe sex and of doing away with prejudices. HIV/AIDS is not ‘somebody else’s problem.’ It does not discriminate – indeed, it is an ‘equal opportunity’ disease capable of affecting us all. Unless we all take steps to educate ourselves and our loved ones, we have no hope of reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS.”
The Cayman Islands hosted this year’s meeting of EC/OCT which is a European Commission funded project involving UK & Dutch Overseas Territories to promote an integrated response to HIV/AIDS.
The Caribbean region is heavily affected by HIV/AIDS and is the world’s second hardest hit area after sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS is the leading cause of death in the 15-44 year age group and Caribbean UNAIDS calculations suggest that close to 360,000 people in the region are living with the virus; but it could be as much as 500,000.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    The days of telling people to NOT have sex until marriage is over!  The children, and that is what they are, will continue to have sex.  It is not something that will stop.  In that case, you teach them the right way to do things. That right thing would be to protect yourself.  Make sure you stay clean. Don’t have multiple partners, use condoms, birth control pills, whatever it takes.  Telling someone to not do something only promotes them to go out and do it.  I know we have been kids before and when Momma said dont do it, we went right ahead and did it. No matter what it was.  Don’t climb that tree because you could fall out of it.  OK Momma!  What do you do, you wait for her to walk away and you climb that tree.  It is just the way humans are.  You can’t learn things until you have made the mistake of doing it incorrectly. We learn from our mistakes.

    With that being said, these kids are not going to stop having sex but they should know the consequences.  Make it available for them to protect themselves.  A box of condoms is much cheaper than a baby!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sexual Education is taught in the government high schools in very graphic details. They are informed about AIDS and other STD’s and about the use of birth control and condoms (both male and female). They are even provided with modle penis’s and vagina’s and are taught how to use condoms ect in addition to being familiarized with the various male and female organs.

    It is up to the parents to keep open communitcation with their children on these topics so that they will be able to come to them for advice ect…

    The schools may teach the facts but they can not be responsible for raising  the children.

    • anonymous says:


      Teaching sex education includes  MORAL CLARITY.

      Wait till marriage.IS THE WAY TO GO.

      Transcient INFATUATION and mere LUST of the flesh says I    "Can’t wait to have sex with you. and IF YOU WANT TO BE MY GIRL WE HAVE TO HAVE SEX  ‘WRONG!" Girls you owe him nothing but a Kick in the middle section if he forces himself on you, then jail!"if you young people fall for the dog in heat sales pitch that "I got to have you now"  YOU WILL LOSE! now. and regret it later.

      Real Love and respect for the other person’s  body,  and good morals says, "I love you so much I’m willing to marry you then have sex"

      These truths of moral clarity need to be transmitted into the minds of our young people..

      What happens when no condoms are available?Take a chance on getting pregnant and become a burden on the system and our society, with a good for nothing father running around like Fonzie, taking no responsibiity for his illigitimate child?  Mr.Minister tell our young people  they can have fun without having sex before marriage which is the best choice they can make. Distribute literature promoting and advocating moral clarity in the schools, churches, on the streets and in public places displayed and posted on the walls of every building everywhere.   Make a real effort to point our young people in the right direction. Sex education and distribution of condoms is a mere bandaid is merely hiding behind  the real problem of sexual promiscuity.


      • Salt'n'peppa says:

        Citing Fonzie, there is  a bible-basher who knows how to get down with the kids.

      • anonymous says:

        It is a crying shame that the Minister for Health alone has to pursue this.

        What happen to the Pastor Als and Pastor Alisons and Pastor Clarkes, and Pastor Sykes, and the whole Ministers Association that should be leading the way to save our young people from being destroyed by FREE SEX ! . Are these Ministers of the Gospel so busy counting dollars within the walls of their stained glass windows that they cannot even muster the thought of a strategic plan to tackle this problem? Shame on the churches.

        Its time you lead the way. We’re tired of you being led around by political parties with a leash on your necks! This is really your job not the Minister for Health. Let him deal with health services but its the Ministers Association to provide education on MORAL CLARITY to the community and our young people.

  3. tired says:

    I agree with you Mr. Minister now please do something about it!

    Sex education is being kept out of the school by Parents who are afraid or incapable of talk to their kids about sex. 

    Teachers are not pressing the matter because they are also uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the subject.

    Yet we must talk to them even when this is uncomfortable for us and we must demand for it to be done inthe school by people who are trained and informed(ie heath education teachers).

    The number of HIV positive persons on this island is UNKNOWN because of a few factors.

    Government mandated testing is done to infrequently to be truly effective and any expats who test positive are repatriated and or NOT counted in our statistics if they have lived here for less than 5 years. The very transient nature of our population combined with very limited contact tracing definitely makes our numbers appear significantly lower.

    Typically in other countries they do a blind survey of ALL the blood collected at the hospital to see if testing numbers are accurate.    Perhaps this is a project to be spearheaded by Ministry of Health.


  4. Beachboi says:

    The church does not want sex education in the schools so it will not happen.  Look at what the antiquated ideals of the Vatican are regarding condoms and look at what it is doing in places like Africa.  They would rather people suffer and die rather than change their views.

  5. Common Sense says:

    We need to incorporate the mandatory teaching of contraception and birth control into our education system curriculum and enforce its teaching in our schools. Not only will this help stop the spread of STDs, it will help prevent the continuing string of unwanted teenage pregnancies that continue to ruin the lives of our young women.

    • Anonymous says:

      In addition to ruining the lives of young women, the unwanted children are also at high risk for ruined lives.

      Very often unwanted children come into the world disadvantaged by pre-natal abuse stemming from the mother’s drug consumption both legal (nicotine and alcohol) and illegal (ganja, cocaine etc). Unwanted children suffer from neglect and lack of nurturing which turns them into angry young adults who do not have the tools with which to build a productive life.

      Fix this now and the crime rate will drop 18 years in the future.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Maybe a good start would be for the Education Department to allow open and frank discussions on contraception and how to use it in Cayman’s public schools – at present this does not happen, as apparently there is no real need for it and some people might be offended.