Kyrgyzstan Education Ministry Withdraws Sex Education Textbook Discussing HIV/AIDS, Condom Use
December 23, 2003
The Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Education in September withdrew a new sex education book that was to be used in schools this year following a "floo[d]" of public criticism, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The book, titled "Healthy Way of Life," is a teacher's guide to teaching sex education and other topics such as tobacco and drug use. Boris Shapiro, the book's author and a physician who heads an AIDS clinic in the capital city Bishkek, said that increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases showed that teenagers needed "frank advice" on how to slow the spread of HIV in the former Soviet republic, "where talk of sex in families is often taboo," according to the AP/Inquirer. Kyrgyzstan has registered more than 450 HIV-positive people, but officials believe that the actual number is much higher. Most HIV cases are related to injection drug use, and sex work is on the rise because of the country's poor economic situation. "Teachers were saying they didn't know AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. And doctors were saying they didn't know methods of teaching," Shapiro said. Shapiro wrote the book over two years with the input of high school students. After a public comment period on the text -- during which time Shapiro said that he received no comments -- about 2,000 copies of the book were published in 2001 with a portion of $600,000 in funds from the Kyrgyz government and the United Nations.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.