The first cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were reported in 1981 in the United States. Thereafter, cases of HIV became more common in the following years. Since HIV is transmitted basically through behavior that individuals can control, HIV/AIDS educational programs that can influence behavior change are therefore very necessary. The public and private schools have the ability to ensure that students have knowledge about the disease especially in adolescents and young adults.
AIDS is a terminal disease; hence other than school education, involvement of the broad community is necessary to ensure successful implementation of the policies and relevant programs. Relevant authorities should also be involved to develop and implement these policies as well as establish standards for AIDS education programs and resources. These programs should incorporate the needs of all kinds of young people: students, school age and those not attending schools.
They should also address the needs of the minorities. Education about AIDS is more appropriate to school children who possess knowledge about HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and community health. It will also make more impact when the students have chances to develop qualities like decision making, communication skills, and opposition to influence from their peers as well as a sense of self esteem.
Secondary school health education teachers should provide education about AIDS, for the reason that a qualified health education teacher has training and experience in adolescent development, teaching methods that are relevant to the age, adolescent health, and secondary school health education techniques and materials. The main reason for AIDS education especially in the young people is to prevent HIV infections. Therefore the content of the material should incorporate parents and also tackle and elaborate behavior that is exhibited by the young people.
By doing so, education about AIDS will be relevant in that it will help the young people gain knowledge that will help them adopt behavior that will eliminate their risk of contracting the disease. School system therefore encourages and motivates the young people who are not yet sexually active to: • Abstain from sexual activities and wait until they can maintain one partner in a marriage • Refrain from drug abuse especially use of injections For the students who are already sexually active or may have been engaged in drug abuse, AIDS education is necessary to help them:
• Stop their sexual habits until they are ready to get involved with a single partner in a marriage relationship • Stop using drugs and injections There are some young people who are unwilling to quit behavior that puts them at risk of contracting the disease. This is why school programs also incorporate preventive types of behavior for persons who are at risk of contracting the disease. These include: • Avoiding sexual activities with people who are infected or who are at risk of being infected or whose status are not known • Use of condom when engaging in sexual activities
• Seeking treatment already involved in drug abuse • Not sharing needles or equipment that may lead to infections • Seeking HIV counseling and testing In an article from the American Civil Liberty Union, sexual education has been a target for old school groups since 1960s. It did not become common in public schools until 1980s when there was an increased spread of AIDS in America. By late 1980s, many states had issued directives to schools to offer HIV/AIDS education. They received public support since AIDS was taking lives of many young people.
However, sex education varied. While most students got their sex education in high school, some of them did not receive it until they were in tenth grade, by which time some of them were already sexually active. The content of sexual education also varied a lot. Comprehensive sexuality education highlights that abstinence is the only total way of avoiding unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, traditional organizations and legislators have struggled to make it the main focus in sexuality education in schools.
The fear to bring controversy or raise questions has prevented sexuality education teachers in some parts from addressing topics like contraceptives, abortion, masturbation and homosexuality. This may raise alarm from the conservative organizations as well as religious organizations. According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, only five per cent of American schools receive total education throughout their school system.
This means that knowledge if the disease is available but limited; hence the reason why total eradication of the disease is inevitable. Still the acceptance and acknowledgement of the education is relevant and necessary to school going students and young people. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the young people are more prone to HIV infection, owing to their sexual active behaviors especially the minority races and ethnicity. Therefore they need continual need of HIV/AIDS educational outreach, abstinence programs and advice about delaying the initiation of sex.