Safe Sex in the City: Condoms and an Updated Message in New York
June 12, 2006
Three years ago, a city health department study found that despite condom distribution and lessons about safe sex in New York City public schools during the past 15 years, teens were not necessarily listening. One in four students who reported being sexually active said they had not used a condom the last time they had sex, and nearly 20 percent of sexually active teens reported having at least four partners.
Over the past year, the city's Department of Education (DOE) has revised its AIDS curriculum in public schools, offering updated information on treatment, prevention, and the dangers of HIV/AIDS. "The changing face of AIDS is becoming younger and younger," said Kacie Winsor of the New York AIDS Coalition, who helped draft the revised schools curriculum released last year.
The DOE launched its push to rewrite the curriculum after schools Chancellor Joel Klein told a state Assembly hearing he agreed the AIDS curriculum implemented in 1987 was medically and socially dated. Under the new curriculum, students learn that AIDS is not necessarily a "death sentence" and HIV/AIDS patients can live for many years with medication. However, they are also told there is still no cure.
Abstinence is stressed as part of the high school curriculum, but most city high schools also provide condoms on request, unless a student's parent objects. John Roberts, assistant principal of Edward R. Murrow High School, which offers students a comprehensive curriculum covering AIDS and other health topics, said a recent survey found 100-150 condoms had been requested in one month at Murrow.
A chancellor regulation in 1991 created the DOE's condom availability policy. Schools taking part in the program are offered training; DOE orders the condoms and distributes them to schools on request.
Newsday (New York)
06.06.06; Bryan Virasami
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.