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Education and the Church

 

It is best to start teaching HIV/AIDS awareness during high school. New York Stateís education requirements state that sexuality education is not mandated, but HIV/AIDS education is mandated. Depending on the school, a student may receive either comprehensive or deficient AIDS information. If children are taught about STDs and HIV/AIDS early on, then they will be less likely to participate in risky activities. An article by Jemmott et al. (2005), out of 682 adolescents with a mean age of 15.8 years, 87% reported having sexual intercourse during the previous three months, with 52% of the 682 adolescents reporting unprotected sexual intercourse in the past three months. These adolescents did not participate in MSM (only 0.4% did) or the use of injection drugs (0.6%). Clearly adolescents are putting themselves at risk day by day. During the study, intervention sessions were held to educate the adolescents about sexual behavior and diseases. One skill based intervention discussed correct condom usage and the second health based intervention dealt with issues such as cancer and smoking. Twelve months after the study began, a follow up was conducted; it was found that after the follow up, adolescents who partook in the skill based intervention reported fewer sexual partners than the health based intervention (10).

Private schools in New York are different but are not exempt from this requirement (11). In my Catholic high school we did go over STDs but it was very brief; it is not surprising that sex is a taboo topic in a religious school. Speaking to the bishop of that particular archdiocese about AIDS awareness could accomplish two goals in one. Firstly, if the plan is successful, the bishop will inform catholic schools to update their health classes in order to keep up with the epidemic. Secondly, churches around the city will receive word from the bishop and pass the word to their congregations. By using the church as a middleman to spread information, information can be spread to all sexes and races. The church is already involved in volunteer work to help the sick, like Godís Love We Deliver.