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   This lack of a means to receive care and the lack of initiative taken by citizens of rural communities is the reason I believe that implementing an educational program within these rural areas is the means to eradicate the misinformed individuals. I believe that an educational program should be placed into the high schools of these rural communities in addition to the health course that all students are required to take. Specifically within Lehigh County, I believe that an AIDS awareness course should be placed within both Louis E. Dieruff and William Allen High School. I also believe that this particular program should be implemented within the local Boys and Girls Club of the Lehigh County. According to the Department of Health of Pennsylvania, there has been a total 143 births in the age group of 13-18 in 2000. There has also been 486,750,000 cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia within Pennsylvania in 2005. These statistics prove that the amount of risky sexual contact is occurring often within the ages of high school adolescents. Although students are engaging in sexual behavior, many of these rural adolescents are receiving inadequate education concerning AIDS prevention in comparison to urban adolescents.  By implementing an additional educational program within the local high schools of Lehigh County, the students residing within these areas can live safer and healthier lives.

This AIDS awareness program that will be implemented within the local high schools and the local Boys and Girls Club will utilize the tools such as videotapes, games, exercises, and lectures in order to deliver the message of AIDS awareness.  In a study concerning the use of education for AIDS awareness conducted by DiClemente and his colleagues in San Francisco. Although this particular study was conducted in an urban area, I believe that the findings in this research show that the use of education within the middle schools and high schools of America can give adolescents the knowledge they need in order to combat this deadly disease. At the conclusion of their study, the researchers found that the individuals participating had a greater knowledge of the AIDS epidemic. These participants also reported having fewer sexual experiences with multiple lovers and were less likely to have a sexual encounter without the use of a condom three months after the informational sessions11. This study illustrates that the use of educational AIDS awareness does create a better understanding of the AIDS epidemic. I believe that an AIDS awareness program implemented within the local high schools in addition to the health education courses already given within Pennsylvania will enable students to be further educated on the issue of all STDs.  The current health course taught within the Lehigh County encompasses all areas of health including personal hygiene, developmental issues, and social responsibility. Little time is spent specifically on the teaching of sexual education. Therefore, I believe that the program implemented within the local high schools of the Lehigh County should be approximately ninety days long or half of the school year. This amount of time will allow the teacher to thoroughly cover the material in regards to AIDS and sexual responsibility without the students becoming bored due to the length of time. This particular course should not exceed forty-five minute time slots due to the fact that the students will begin to ignore the information given to them. Through the use of culturally accepted modes of education including videotapes, games, exercise, lectures, and class discussions, the concept of sexually transmitted disease awareness can be significantly covered within these classes.

          The cost of implementing an additional AIDS and STD awareness class within the local high schools of Pennsylvania will not be substantial. According to the budget put out by the Department of Education for Pennsylvania, the current educational budget for grades pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade is $9.4 billion. The only additional cost that will be taken from this budget of education within Pennsylvania will be the cost of new teachers and equipment to provide this education to the students. On average nationally, a teacher earns approximately $46,752. In Allentown alone there is only two local high schools, William Allen High School and Louis E. Dieruff High School. The additional cost of $93,504 to employ two teachers to teach this particular course of AIDS awareness and sexual responsibility is a minimal cost in comparison to the $119, 000 it costs to take care of one AIDS patient. Despite the cost of the additional teachers, the number of student that will be touched pales in comparison to the amount of money expended in this program.