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MW 4 April 2018

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maltatoday WEDNESDAY 4 APRIL 2018 TIA RELJIC A national policy on sexual edu- cation was recommended by the National Youth Council (KNZ) together with the European Youth Forum (YFJ). The Council has called for a "standardised" and "holistic" national policy on sex-ed which would include "an expert task force of educators" in secondary schools. The report is part of the annual Universal Periodic Review on Malta submitted to the UN Of- fice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and focuses on the topics of sexual health, mental health, and accessibility to rights. It notes that a study by the Ministry of Health shows that 41% of 16 to 18-year-olds in Mal- ta are sexually active, with first encounters averaging at around 15 years of age. For this reason, it argues that there should be a multidis- ciplinary approach to sexual health and sexual education, as youths are sexually active at a younger age. "Formulat- ing a national policy on sexual education as part of a holistic health programme is key." The review was released after Eurostat figures showed that Malta's teenage pregnancy rate remains among the highest in Europe. A commitment to further in- vestment in higher quality sexu- al health services and access to self-testing and improved distri- bution of contraception was also suggested. The report notes that 25% of the population in Malta with HIV is currently unaware that they are carrying the virus, while free self-testing would be a first step towards allowing for over 90% of the population to become aware of their condition by 2020. "75% of HIV cases in 2016 were from migrants and with the ever-increasing attempt to integrate such migrants within our Maltese society, it is of sig- nificance that such testing is dis- tributed to all." Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) – HIV drugs which can be used before or af- ter sex respectively – should also be made more affordable for gay men. The report recommends inte- grating mental health services into all the country's hospitals, thereby avoiding the isolation of mental health patients and improving the quality of such services. Guidelines for standardised education aimed against stigma- tisation of mental health from an early age were also recom- mended, as well as awareness on the provision of counselling in all levels of the education system, enabling youths to ap- proach mental health services "without fear or judgement or social isolation". The Council has also recom- mended the establishment of an independent National Hu- man Rights Institution, in full conformity with the Paris Prin- ciples, establishing a Commis- sion on Youth Rights within the Ombudsman Office, and work- ing towards ensuring the role of good governance for "better protecting and promoting hu- man rights and freedoms". The report cited a Eurobarom- eter survey which showed that 53% of Maltese citizens did not have confidence in the Maltese judicial and legal system, and that 65% of citizens said they did not trust the political parties and 53% said that they did not trust the police. "This growing sentiment gave rise to several protests around the nation with regards to rule of law and good governance," the report read, adding that the feeling is "extremely common" among Maltese youths. NEWS If you apply for a business overdraft of €10,000, you will be charged 0% interest for the first six months and a variable borrowing rate of 6.75% per annum thereafter. The total amount paid by you after 12 months will be €10,724.38. A one time processing fee of 0.30% (minimum €40) is applicable upon setup of the overdraft. This example is based on the assumption that you spend your overdraft limit in full at the start of the agreement and that it remains fully drawn down for the duration of the agreement, which is here deemed to be 12 months. Use of the overdraft in a di…erent manner may result in a higher total amount paid. The 12 month term of the overdraft facility is for guidance purposes only as our overdrafts are generally for an indefinite duration and repayable on demand. O…er valid until 30 April 2018. Approved and issued by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. 116 Archbishop Street, Valletta VLT 1444 which is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority. Licensed to conduct investment services business by the Malta Financial Services Authority. Terms and conditions may apply. (Ref No. 100763 – 3/18) Together we thrive Because when business and life move fast, there will be times when you require short-term finance to keep your business running. This is HSBC Fusion. The combined service for your business and personal life. Find out more at 0% Interest rate for 6 months, followed by 6.75% on Business Overdrafts opened before 30 April 2018 Processing fees apply National policy on sex-ed recommended to UN Human Rights High Commissioner

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