New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has courted yet another controversy by stating that sex education should be banned in schools.
The Union Minister is his vision document for Delhi schools says: “So-called “sex education” to be banned. Yoga to be made compulsory.”
Dr Vardhan’s views on sex education is sure to spark a debate and give fresh ammunition to the Congress to hit back at the Cabinet minister.
Recently, the Union Health Minister sparked a controversy by saying that promoting condom usage is not enough to prevent AIDS. However, Dr Vardhan on Wednesday denied opposing promotion of condoms, and said a combination of condoms and abstinence was needed to fight HIV/AIDS.
The Health Minister also expressed “disappointment” over the way media “distorted” his statements in an interview given to The New York Times.
In the interview to the US daily, Dr Harsh Vardhan was quoted as saying: “One should also promote integrity of sexual relationship between husband and wife – a part of Indian culture.”
“The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms. This sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine,” he said.
In response to the criticism he received, the ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist said: “Any experienced NGO activist knows that condoms sometimes break while being used. That is why government campaigns in India, whether through the National Aids Control Organisation or the state governments, should focus on safe sex as a holistic concept which includes highlighting the role of fidelity to single partners.”
He said: “The tradition of preserving institution of marriage governed relevant government legislations”.
“Even the law on divorce insists on attempts at reconciliation and suggest recourse to separation only in the last resort,” he said. “The culture of regarding husband and wife as halves of a whole should be upheld in the modern age where one sees all-round crumbling of values.”
“My statement on informing people on the supremacy of fidelity as an AIDS prevention measure is not only a piece of cultural advice but also a scientific one. So as Minister of Health I find it justified to include this simple message in the communication strategy of the government’s anti-AIDS programmes,” he said.
“Condoms promise safe sex, but the safest sex is through faithfulness to one’s partner. Prevention is always better than cure,” he added.