“We want the state to take action,” says Florence Thune, CEO of Sidaction

The director general of the Sidaction association, Florent Thune, is attacking the State with Family Planning. Florence Thune wants the State to apply the law to schools requiring the organization of three sex education sessions.

The SOS Homophobia, Sidaction and Family Planning associations are planning to take the State to administrative court to force it to organize at least three sex education sessions each year at school, as provided for by the 2001 law. .

“For more than 20 years, this law has not been applied”, regrets this Thursday on franceinfo Florence Thune, general manager of Sidaction. “We want the government to take action,” she continues, convinced that the non-application of this law leads to “a decline in knowledge about HIV” among young people as well as an increase in contamination.

franceinfo: Why go to court?

Florence Thune : For more than 20 years, this law has not been applied and for a very long time, we have been calling for its application throughout school life. Today, we want to stop crying wolf. We want the government to take action. At Sidaction, there is a decline in knowledge about HIV among young people. Knowledge is deteriorating, but so are the contamination figures. In recent years, the proportion of young people under 25 among those who discover their HIV status has increased. We were at 11% in 2013, today we are at 15%.

How do you explain that these three sessions per year are not set up?

Several things: a lack of will from establishments sometimes, a lack of means above all. Perhaps also a resistance, a taboo, to talk about sex education, on the part of parents in particular. This is a subject that can be complicated to tackle when you are not trained. For all these reasons, we see how much resources are needed to bring in associations to talk about these subjects, to support teachers and school nurses, because we know how overwhelmed educational staff are.

Why such a taboo? What exactly do we teach during these sexuality education sessions?

The Ministry of National Education has a very precise program adapted to each age. In primary school, we will talk about relationships with others, respect, equality between girls and boys, prevention of sexual violence, because children are also victims of sexual violence. We address issues related to respect for oneself, one’s body, the fact of saying no. It is important to start in primary school. Then, in college and high school, we talk about issues of consent, sexually transmitted infections, contraception. There are a lot of topics covered in sex education that should not be confused with sex education in the strict sense of the term.

Do you find the State reluctant to move forward on these issues?

The state is cautious, to say the least. We are still talking about a law that is 22 years old. We are satisfied to see that the Minister of Education Pap Ndiaye is committed to this issue, that he is showing a desire to set up these sessions, but we know how much more resources are going to be needed to set up these three sessions per year.

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