TN CONA 2011

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Clifton's Proposal

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1 Clifton's Proposal on Thu May 19, 2011 2:16 pm


HIV/AIDS Education in Schools

Public and Federally Funded Schools in the US

Educating students about HIV/AIDS is a critical component in fighting the global epidemic that HIV/AIDS has become. In 2009, there were a reported 2.5 million children living with HIV around the world. Additionally in 2009 alone, there were 890,000 new HIV infections amongst young people. Therefore, providing young people with basic HIV/AIDS education will enable them to protect themselves from becoming infected. The added benefit is for those young people who are not yet engaging in sex that will be ready for situations that will put them at risk, as they grow older. HIV/AIDS education in school can be constructed to make it the learning process fun.

In the world and society we live in today, one of the most challenging issues and concerns is the significant increase in HIV/AIDS infection amongst pre-adolescent and adolescent aged students. We have lived in a society were silence was the norm as it related to in depth talks about sex education amongst school students. That silence is a significant contributor to the increase society is seeing in the epidemic levels of HIV/AIDS diagnoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that is it the youth that are at a constant and persistent risk for HIV infections, especially amongst minority groups. The cost associated with the treatment and care for youth diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is enormous. As a result, there exist an urgent and indisputable need for the implementation of an HIV/AID initiative directed at school aged adolescents, that addresses this wide-spread societal concern. There is no one absolute solution to eliminate HIV/AIDS but by addressing certain key factors that contribute to this epidemic, we can have a significant impact on the battle against HIV/AIDS in our youth. As such, the ambition of this HIV/AIDS initiative is to educate, inform, and reduce the cost associated with the treatment of HIV/AIDS to the youth in schools.
Educating youth about HIV/AIDS is a very important way in which to disseminate knowledge on sexual health. When society has faced serious health concerns like measles, polio, and small pox for example, the government has intervened and taken steps to make the society safer by protecting its citizens, especially those who may not be able to do without assistance. There are many ways to reach and protect students and doing so through schools is just one of them. The epidemic of HIV/AIDS requires the government to take action to protect its youth. Generalized sex education is not sufficient. There has to be specific sex education instruction administered on HIV/AIDS. Education on the disease should not only address the facts of HIV/AIDS, the biology transmission of the disease, but it is equally important that in developing an initiative, it should consider the reality of the world young people live in, taking into consideration things like peer pressure and gender inequality.
Keeping in mind that there is no absolute solution or cure for the disease, being educated about it is the first crucial step in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Schools must take the additional steps of informing students about where they can go for HIV/AIDS testing, condoms, treatment options, and public and private services available, in helping those who may have contracted the disease. And with the power of and understanding that technology and social networking are immense tools for fighting the epidemic of HIV/AIDS amongst teens, abstinence programs should not be the only programs that are taught in public schools. Those types of programs are not focused on youth who ARE engaging in sex and their needs. The lower the age of first sex, the higher the lifetime risk of HIV infection. There are prevention programs in place that students are unaware of. Making students aware of available treatments and testing and service options affords them and their families a better chance at having a better quality of life. Studies have shown that the more educated youth become about sex, the better choices they make regarding sexual activity.
By educating and informing pre-adolescent and adolescent about HIV/AIDS, the costs associated with the treatment of HIV/AIDS have the potential to dramatically decrease. Preventing HIV infection, providing life prolonging treatment, and relieving the impact of HIV and AIDS for children and their families and communities is possible. Costs can be lowered if the youth are educated and informed. If we don’t do something to address this issue, and all of the stigma and discrimination associated surrounding it, youth will continue to suffer the consequences of the epidemic.

The expectation is that this proposal will encourage a change in behavior of this targeted group so as to reduce their risk for contracting the disease and to equip them, so they will make safer choices as it relates to engaging in sex and cut costs in the treatment of the disease. This would have the added benefit of jump-starting the conversation between parents and teens that have been reluctant or embarrassed to talk about sex.
Possible opposition may likely come from groups or organizations that promote abstinence only programs as a means to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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