STUDENTS from the rural enclaves of Nadi are having a frank discussion on sex with an unlikely teacher — our 73-year-old President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
The high profile global ambassador for HIV/AIDS is touring schools in Nadi this week, sharing statistics and information on this killer disease.
At Sabeto College he emphasised that AIDS was a disease that could be prevented and stressed the importance of parents' involvement in providing young people with honest and accurate information.
When a student asked him the solutions for sexually active youths, he urged students to "think, think, and think" before they engaged in an activity that could cut short their lives. He said he understood the pressures on young people, their hormones and their curiosity. He said one of the best prevention tools was open and honest communication with parents.
"People ask me and want me to say abstinence as a preventative measure. But I say, you are full-blooded young adults and you spend eight hours of a day together. There are those who can abstain and there are those who can't. For those who can't, I say use protection. We know what works and what doesn't. Your parents should be talking to you, they have to understand it is their responsibility."
In response to another query from a student, the President explained that AIDS was not a homosexual disease — that it was spread through unprotected sex and was prevalent among heterosexuals. He encouraged the students to engage in healthy behaviour and attitudes. The President's AIDS campaign was also taken to Votualevu High, Mulomulo High School, Korovuto High School and Nadi Muslim College.