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Educating children and adolescents about safer sex
Nov 6, 1998

MR. SOWADSKY, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ MY QUESTION. I AM NINETEEN AND AM A COLLEGE STUDENT IN PLANO TEXAS. I HAVE GREAT INTEREST IN EDUCATING OUR YOUTH, BEGINNING IN GRADE 5, ON THE MEANS TO PREVENT HIV/AIDS WITH SAFE SEX EDUCATION. MY RESEARCH PAPER FOR THIS SEMESTER IS ON THIS TOPIC. I WOULD LOVE YOU INPUT ON THIS TOPIC AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL TO BE THE MOST PERTINENT POINT TO GET ACROSS TO MY READERS IN ORDER TO PURSUADE THEM TO AGREE WITH ME AND SUPPORT SAFE SEX EDUCATION?

THANK YOU!

GOD BLESS!!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. The benefits of teaching HIV/STD prevention are quite clear. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

There are many types of programs intended to teach youth to protect themselves against HIV and other STDs. Some prevention programs teach youth only abstinence (telling youth to have no sex at all). Other programs teach youth to postpone sex until later in their life. And other programs are based on a risk reduction model (for example, teaching the correct use of condoms, etc.). Some programs are a combination of all these approaches.

Teaching youth (and adults) about preventing HIV/STDs can be done in several ways including (but not limited to):

1) Traditional classroom instruction. 2) Home instruction (parents teaching their children). 3) Outreach programs (for example programs targeting out-of-school street youth). 4) In-depth risk reduction counseling (an intensive, ongoing program, either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups, aimed at behavior modification). 5) Targeted prevention (for example programs targeting Gay youth, to teach about prevention in a way that they can easily relate to). 6) The Internet (this website is a good example of this approach).

There is no single "best" approach to teaching prevention to children, teenagers and adults. Often the "best" way to teach prevention is a combination of all these approaches. Regardless of which approach one uses, some general suggestions on how to educate youth about AIDS, STDs, and safer sex, can be found at the following posts:

Educating children: AIDS education for young children

Educating teenagers/adolescents: First read the posting, Motivation for behavior change, then go to the posting, What Do the Symptoms of STDs look like?.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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