The apex body responsible for controlling AIDS in the country is ready to review the sex education material it provides to schools in the wake of several states raising objections but will advise them not to ban the subject.
Speaking for the first time on the controversy, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) Director General K Sujatha Rao said her organisation agreed that the material, which is only for teachers of senior secondary schools, should not be brazen or explicit.
"We are open to setting up an expert committee to review our material. They could bring changes if they find something which hurts people's cultural sensitivity but without compromising on the message, which should be loud and clear," Rao said.
Describing the move by governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh to ban sex education as "hypocrisy", Rao said this will particularly impact children from poor families who depend on schools for providing the right information.
The Union health ministry will take up the matter with state governments. "The ministry doesn't want these states to take a hasty decision against imparting life-skill education, which also talks about sexual health and HIV," she said.
"Banning sex education is hypocrisy on their part. It is rubbish and totally nonsense that we don't need sex education. Our survey has shown that teenage boys are indulging in casual sex. 15 per cent of total deliveries in India involve teenage girls," Rao explained.