More than a million Americans have HIV or AIDS. This includes youth ages 15-24 years old, whose rates have steadily increased over the last three years. Given that less than a third of these youth have ever been tested for HIV, it should be no surprise that nearly 60 percent of HIV-infected youth don’t know they have HIV.
Every time I talk about school-based sexuality education programs, I’m always surprised by the disconnect between what parents tell me and what school administrators tell me about what they think parents believe. In every discussion I can think of, school administrators tell me parents don’t want it, but parents tell me they do.
Most public schools throughout the United States, including here in Ohio, teach something about HIV/AIDS at some point during a child’s school experience. Unfortunately, a lot of what researchers find in these programs is erroneous and insufficient, which makes them ineffective.
If parents are truly supportive of school-based sexuality education, which all the studies I’ve read say that they do, then why aren’t schools doing a better job providing this education? Should parents do more? Should the youth?
When youth have been asked about what they think should be included in their school-based sexuality education programs, they repeatedly say they want to know what they need to know, that they want their questions answered, and that they don’t want to be made to feel awkward for asking.
So why don’t more schools do this?
Let me know your thoughts!
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