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December 2009
No Sex, We are Indians!
Dr. Ruchi Dass
Sunayna, my cousin's beautiful daughter, is just 14 years old. Sometimes she pleasantly surprises me with her knowledge and charisma. My mom says, "It's gonna be a tough job for Madhavi (my cousin) to protect her from guys when she grows up."

Actually, it's the truth. As kids become more and more aware about the wonder 'wow' world around them, they become curious as well to feel and try everything

available around. Trust me, 'sex' is the biggest drive amongst teens. We say 'we are aware' but we are not. No sex education is happening, through the Government. I feel it should begin at the age of 14. No sex education is happening, through the Government. I feel it should begin at the age of 14.

Breaking the Taboo
Sex is not a taboo today and girls lose their virginity by the age of 15. Look at ourselves and the world around - we can't just shut our eyes and stay put. So what should we do - break out open and get our kids understand this, from our mouth? No need, actually! Easy awareness programs are the key. You can have a two step process:
  • Start with HIV/AIDS awareness: Tell your kids what it is, how it spreads and what the precautions are.
  • Cervical Cancer education: Make mention of HPV virus and educate them on why a vaccination (Gardasil) is necessary, what it covers one for and why they need it. Help and encourage them towards a healthy sex education - it will also be the best way to keep them away from porn and bad literature.
But We Are Indians!
If you are conservative, the best way to do it is to talk about upliftment of rural women in India. Here's how you can guide the discussion:
  1. Amongst rural women many who are young conceive early and die in child birth.
  2. That is because their knowledge of contraception is limited.
  3. Attitudes in our country still remain vastly chauvinistic and you can see it in street molestations everyday.
  4. This could open the floor for discussions. Don't shy away from educating them because it's against the 'cultural ethos' - the youth are uninformed about sexual choices. Total development of our child can never come from "instinct control" and "dignity of restraint". Pertinent questions need to be answered.
B Positive has undertaken one such initiative with the recently launched child tabloid B Positive Students which touches all of India, a million families and numerous kids and youth. Maybe that could help too. Don't burrow your head in the sand and ignore the problem. We are Indians! And we should be proud of it.
Dr. Ruchi Dass is Vice President Apollo Wellness Plus and Lifetime Wellness Rx International

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