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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