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Meet Jose, one of the many young people in Honduras living in fear of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Jose's story raises awareness about how the lack of education about STIs can shape the future of young people.

My story

In Honduras, the reality is alarming. Every 9 hours, a person becomes infected with HIV. What's even more concerning is that 34% of Hondurans with HIV don't even know they have it. Jose's experience reflects that fear, a fear that could have been prevented with proper sexual education.
Like many young people in adolescence, Jose had many questions about STIs. He, like many, represents those who would have liked to know what HPV was at 14 or 15, and would have liked to know that there was a vaccine that could have protected them. But for many, the information came too late, and they had to face the reality of an STI without fully understanding what it meant.

We heard stories of young people contracting HPV at the age of 15 and crying on the examination table, not knowing it was treatable, and going through it alone and confused, with no one to talk to. That loneliness could have been avoided if young people in that situation had access to information that helped them understand how to prevent the disease.

In schools, the topic of STIs is almost never discussed. Many young people, like Jose, only hear about these diseases when they are already 17 years old. Why wait so long? Teachers delegated the task to older students, without providing the necessary information for the kids to protect themselves and their partners.

At home, the topic is also not addressed. Jose's mother, like most mothers of teenagers in our country, used to give him warnings every time she saw him go out with his girlfriend, which led him to enter into sexual life "blindly," without knowledge or guidance.
The lack of sexual education leaves young people like Jose in a state of uncertainty. Not knowing what a positive diagnosis implies is one of the most difficult situations one can face. No young person or child should go through that.

When we talk about sexual education, it's not just about discussing intimate relationships. It's about empowering ourselves with knowledge, about knowing how to protect oneself and one's partners. Many Honduran adolescents are afraid to ask questions or seek treatment for STIs, and this is something that needs to change.

Honduras has the opportunity to change the course of thousands of young lives through comprehensive sexual education in schools. We have to imagine a future where young people don't fear STIs due to lack of information. Let's envision a future where everyone has access to the sexual education they need. This is the future that all young people deserve, and together, we can achieve it.

Sexual education in schools is the key to a future free from fears and full of opportunities.

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