A secondary education biology book has caused an uproar on social media after a page circulated that suggests abstinence from sex before marriage is the only way to truly prevent infection with STDs.
Chastity and restraint are listed as the first natural contraception method in the book, above a photo of a woman depicted outdoors in a field wearing a modest dress.
In the more detailed description, it explains that abstaining from premarital sex is the only 100 per cent successful method of contraception that protects from sexually transmitted diseases.
“In the context of marriage, only a mutually faithful monogamous relationship offers protection from STDs,” the Greek-language book says.
Netizens have commented on the problematic content of the book, noting that although abstinence is indeed the only method that guarantees protection against STDs, the specific chapter appears to be sending additional unrelated messages.
People can be in monogamous relationships without being married, a Twitter user said, adding that the biology book mixes religious studies by suggesting that someone who is sexually active is no longer chaste.
The education ministry has not yet responded on the issue, however, competent sources cited by Philenews said the specific wording is not taught to students.
Further down, the book also deals with HIV/AIDS and its transmission, using information dating as far back as 2014. It also includes an exercise asking students to use this data to rank the different practices starting with the one that presents the greatest risk. The book identifies gay sex as the most dangerous.
The book is used in the third grade of secondary school.
Cyprus has recently passed a controversial law introducing mandatory sex education in schools. The bill met strong reactions, with independent MP Andreas Themistocleous saying whichever hand it was that authored the law it “was guided by a diseased brain” and “we are living in a porn-fuelled and gay storm.”
His statements prompted condemnation from Accept LGBTI+ and calls for his prosecution for hate speech from the Green party and Akel.