Apr 16, 2006
Just reading your forum - am a public school teacher trying to get more informed so I can educate kids better. You do an amazing job!
I saw you said "25% of HIV poz folks don't know they have it" and wondered, how do we know that? I mean, if they don't know they're infected, how do we? I'm not doubting your stat, I'm just curious! (some sharp kid is bound to ask me! Would like to be prepared)
Response from Dr. Frascino
The 25% figure is an estimation based on large epidemiological studies, including testing centers that ask folks before testing if they believe they might be HIV-infected, and population studies, such as in military recruits that have to submit to HIV testing when they sign up. By statistically analyzing data such as these and closely monitoring HIV-infection rates over the past quarter of a century, we can now fairly accurately predict numbers such as the 25% estimate. If your kids come up with any tough questions, feel free to turf them my way.
My foundation and many other groups are pushing for more accurate science-based and age-appropriate sex-education curricula. Information such as this 25% statistical estimate would be included. Here are a few more points you might want to tell your kids:
1. Half of all new infections in the U.S. are in young adults aged 13 to 24. That's 20,000 new infections per year or put another way -- one new infection every hour.
2. 66% of the new infections in young adults are sexually transmitted.
3. 60% of these new infections are in young women.
4. 75% are in racial or ethnic minorities.
5. 33% of HIV-positive youth have never been HIV tested.
6. Over 50% of HIV-positive gay youth are unaware of their positive status.
I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the idea. And hopefully you'll pass it on to your young charges.
I applaud your efforts, Sam! Recruit your fellow teachers to the cause as well. It's time we all demanded the teaching of scientific fact, rather than faith-based, one-sided morality aimed at potentially saving souls rather than actually saving our kids' lives.
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