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Ohio: Case Western Reserve University Trains Cleveland Teens to Teach Others About Safe Sex

May 30, 2013

Case Western Reserve University runs an Infectious Disease Alliance, a grant-funded program linking the university's research to community needs. Known as the "ID Alliance," the program relies on peer educators who help combat a growing local and national health crisis. In 2012, new cases of HIV in Cuyahoga County reached the highest level in six years, with black males ages 16–19 accounting for all 11 HIV infections among teens. According to CDC, one out of every four new HIV infections in the United States occurs in 13–24-year-olds.

Amanda Healan, a co-director of the ID Alliance, stated, "The idea is to reach teens before their sexual debut, so they have information on how to have safe sex before they have sex." The ID Alliance trains peer educators in sexual education and self-defense, and provides medical specialists as teachers, including a sexual assault nurse examiner. The four peer educators, chosen from a group of 37 local high schools applicants, spent the last months of this school year collaborating on a public health campaign targeting teens in high-risk ZIP codes. They worked in a local clinic, talking to teens one-on-one, and taught at after-school programs. The peer educators grew up in the neighborhoods as their target audiences and are aware of the odds they face in fighting HIV and STDs.

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See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Young People

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