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AIDS Vancouver Island responds to distribution of safer sex education material in Nanaimo

AIDS Vancouver Island has been providing safer sex prevention and education information on Vancouver Island for more than 25 years.   We provide this information based on the most current and up-to-date resources, demonstrating our commitment to reducing the spread and harms associated with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C across Vancouver Island.

In recent days, we have become aware that the distribution of educational material in a safer sex class in Nanaimo, taught by one of our most experienced educators, has come under scrutiny from parents, school administrators, the media and general public. The incident in question involved a public complaint from a parent about a cartoon flip book called “Put on Something Sexy” which is produced by the BC Centres for Disease Control’s Chee Mamuk, Aboriginal Program.   The cartoon-illustrated book is intended to inform students how to put on a condom prior to engaging in sexual intercourse.  

We hope to take this opportunity to inform the community that we have been distributing this material to youth age 13-18 within this community for several years without controversy.   In concert with resources such as “Put on Something Sexy”, our educators provide as much context as possible about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity, including the option for abstinence.  Through evidence based-practice we know that doing so is more likely to delay youth’s first sexual experiences and increase the likelihood that condoms will be used correctly and consistently thereby reducing the risks associated with HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections.

AIDS Vancouver Island also respects the rights of organisations including schools to ask to review any materials that we are going to distribute and we will comply with any requests not to distribute specific items.  While we do stand behind the research and evidence as it relates to educating youth about the risks associated with unprotected sex, we understand that communities are at different levels of readiness.  

AIDS Vancouver Island have worked hard for nearly three decades to break down the barriers and stigma that precipitate the need for honest and frank sexual health information. It is our sincerest wish that we can continue this work in partnership with  educators, school administrators, the media and general public so that we can once and for all get to zero new HIV infections,  and zero stigma on Vancouver Island.

AIDS Vancouver Island believes parents have a critical role to play in educating their children about sex and sexuality.  The following website has some tips about how to do this.

For more information please contact Executive Director, Katrina Jensen at 250 384 2366

For any media enquires contact Eric Berndt 250 886 2670