22 Jun 2009

High level of STIs spark call for more sex education in Marshalls

7:45 pm on 22 June 2009

There are calls for more sex education and HIV awareness in the Marshall Islands.

A recently released Ministry of Health report says the nation is at greater risk of contracting HIV as a result of high rates of sexually transmitted infections, low condom usage and lack of safe sex practices.

Administration officer at the College of Marshall Islands, Ellia Seblan Zebedy, says the Marshall Islands has a cultural barrier where it's taboo to talk about sex but says education on safe sex is essential.

She says the school has a health clinic and holds forums where issues such as HIV are discussed openly.

"And so it's not just a person lecturing the students but there are activities involving those sessions so that students can engage and they can actually come out and say something. And so that's how we assess whether students understand these issues and whether they're able to talk about them."

Ellia Zebedy says more community awareness is needed on the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.