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A September of Promise

on Oct 5, 2012 | Sexual Health | 0 comments

“Everything wrong
Gonna be all right
Come September"

Natalie Imbruglia

ASHA recognized September as Sexual Health Month, and eminent personalities from different walks of life have sprinkled ASHA's website with sparkling nuggets of gold. The sudden spurt in blogs and related activities on Twitter and Facebook has created an excitement that is quite natural on the launch of a new initiative. Indeed it is sheer delight to read the thoughts of so many leaders in the field, and to see their perspectives so artfully articulated.

ASHA’s decision to extend the celebration from a single day to a month-long campaign of awareness and awakening in the realm of sexual health was not intended as an exercise in quantity over quality, but rather a thoughtful attempt to allow the message to have a bit more time to strike its roots deeply, and echo far and wide.

One of our Sexual Health Month articles is a Q & A session with former U.S. Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Edlers, M.D. Ever passionate and outspoken, Dr. Elders very aptly explains the necessity of school-based sexual education programs that have a proven track record. As she points out "Children can learn; they might as well learn the right words as the wrong ones!” This could be the best prescription to combat the virus of misinformation and hype that prevails in the domain of sexual health.

But how do we address the challenges created by the media and few famous celebrities? On one hand we have highly accomplished professionals in the field of public and sexual health making concerted efforts to implement programs that teach young kids the right way to approach their sexuality. In the shallow end of the pool is the easy availability of sex made cheap by popular culture, including infamous sex tapes of celebrities like Kim Kardashian. A successful school based sexual education program should be strong in its fundamentals to empower young kids to reject prudery but to also understand that Howard Stern’s take on sex and gender probably isn’t the most enlightened.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit organization based out of Washington, DC, has made commendable efforts in creating working relationships with media leaders to include prevention messages into the content of their work. In the Fox comedy show Raising Hope, the show's main character, who'd been a teen mom, tells a high school girl who is caught in bed with her boyfriend. "I'm gonna show you where this can lead to, I'm your ghost of teen pregnancy future!" Through such intelligent product placements weaved into the story line, the message comes out loud and clear for the intended audience. Let us hope such endeavors eventually turn the tide and render sex tapes and pornographic literature out of circulation.

Looking back, it has been an exciting month at ASHA. John Keats in his famous 'Ode to Autumn' had described September as a 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'. The fruitfulness of the wisdom shared by guest bloggers on the occasion of Sexual Health Month will be savored by many visitors on the website and as we move on - the 'mists' around issues of sexual health will hopefully evaporate.

--Ashok



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