Youth in the Cayman Islands, like their counterparts in the rest of the Caribbean region, are vulnerable to contracting a sexually transmitted infection (including HIV), experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, and in most (albeit not all) cases having that pregnancy result in teen parenting.
Currently, no school in the Cayman Islands delivers a consistent, age appropriate comprehensive sexual education curriculum which is aimed at empowering youth with knowledge, skills and information equipping them to make responsible choices throughout their lives.
Over the past ten years the Cayman Islands Red Cross has been working to offer such information to youth via it’s comprehensive Peer Education Programme, yet even this- which started off as a part of the Year 11 life skills curriculum at the public high school- has been reduced to a couple of activities throughout the school year.
Outside of the classroom access to this information, skills, testing, and contraception aimed at reducing the risks of contracting a STI or becoming pregnant is also extremely limited, and that which is available is most likely restricted to those students in the public high schools.
As individuals, each young person will make an individual choice based on his/her own values and the morals with which he/she was raised. However, like basic literacy and numeracy skills it has become imperative that all youth in the Cayman Islands are privy to the same high quality, age appropriate, standardised, comprehensive sexual education curriculum and have the same access to these potentially life saving information, skills and tools inside and outside of school.
1- adopt a national sexual education curriculum which is based on proven best practices of comprehensive, age appropriate information for students of all ages, but specifically for those in middle and high school, and
2- to improve youth access to this information, testing, and contraception aimed at reducing the risk of contracting STIs and/or unwanted pregnancy by improving access to the aforementioned at the schools, health centres, and via willing community partners working with youth.