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HIV/AIDS Education in Public Schools

(a research paper by Daniel Garcia; June 29, 1999)

The July 1999 issue of the Johns Hopkins HIV Report stated that the World Health Organization announced recently that in 1999, AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) has become the world’s leading infectious cause of death. (1). According to a 1996 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “A recent study estimated that 650,000 to 900,000 U.S. residents were living with HIV infections.” (126—131). The story of the AIDS epidemic in America is sad, considering we are the richest country in the world and have some of the best education and research systems anywhere. AIDS is a completely preventable disease. Yet for American teenagers, education and prevention efforts are not successful. Most notably, the government has done little to direct schools on the best methods for educating teenagers. States and school boards are sorely lacking in good judgement on the subject of AIDS prevention. Teenagers are simply not getting the message of AIDS in their public schools. Honest discussion and education on HIV prevention should be available for American teenagers in public schools.

This paper is not an indictment of specific people, school boards, principals and teachers. This paper is an evaluation—and sometimes conviction—of certain programs and schools of thought, which sometimes seem to lack honest thought, regarding the prevention of HIV and AIDS through education in public schools. However, it is a conviction of how America has failed our teenagers in fighting HIV transmission.

I first met a person living with AIDS a few years ago while serving in the U.S. Navy. I was a Hospital Corpsman and he was a regular sailor whose work classification I cannot remember. His job at the Naval Hospital of Philadelphia was to help educate our peers on HIV and AIDS. For the most part, once they got to him, sailors were at least HIV-positive, and at most, they were living with AIDS. Most of his clients, everyone seemed to understand, were gay. His patients were homosexual men or at least many seemed overly feminine in a gay kind of way.

Once I saw a co-worker and this sailor living with AIDS leaving a movie theater. Unfortunately I made the great mistake of telling some friends, and practically everyone figured, “He, too, must be gay.” This type of reaction is common even today. If someone has HIV or AIDS he must be gay, people seem to say. The reason for this reaction is because HIV prevention is not reaching teenagers in sex education courses. This tunnel vision that leads people to assume AIDS is still considered a gay disease and “homosexuals are being punished by God” has been perpetuated by the lack of quality sex education and abstinence programs. Another reason for the lack of adequate HIV/AIDS education is the fact that HIV prevention does not reach teenagers outside of sex education lessons.

{Please continure reading the paper, and see the Bibliography and the AIDS-Related Links section for more information.}

A Christian Response to AIDS

Next Page of Research Paper----> HIV/AIDS Education In Public Schools
Bibliography: HIV/AIDS Education In Public Schools
Drug Use and HIV: AIDS Risk and Prevention
Letter to the Editor on STDs, AIDS, Abstinence, Abortion, etc.
Study Casts Doubt on 'Gay' Gene
Return to Home: A Christian Response to AIDS
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