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Local and Community News

Florida: Learning AIDS

March 18, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

In what seems like an uphill battle, some Pasco County, Fla., schools are stepping up efforts to discourage a new generation from casual sex. School nurses throughout Pasco County are doing their part to debunk the younger generation's often cavalier attitude toward sex and all that comes with it. "Kids at this age think they're invincible. So we try to approach them in different ways," said Barbara Toth, school nurse at Ridgewood High School.

Some county schools begin by teaching life management classes during the freshman year, in which discussions focus on abstinence and how to prevent STDs. Sophomores have classroom visits from people with AIDS who speak about the disease and how it has affected their quality of life. Juniors tour Hernando/Pasco Hospice's "The Face of AIDS," a multimedia exhibit by local artist Maureen Kennedy that features masks of those infected with AIDS. High school seniors attend a student production of "The Inner Circle," in which a teen dies of AIDS.

"[HIV/AIDS is] not something you see in the news so much any more," said Toth. "I tell the kids, "You haven't heard about it, you haven't read about it, but it's still out there." Toth notes that she is heartened by students who visit her office or express how they have been touched by listening to the recordings of those with AIDS while walking through the "Face of AIDS" exhibit.

Toth believes in the value of programs like that of Pasco County. "Many times I hear kids saying, 'This made it real for me' or "I'm going to get tested' or "I'm going to remain a virgin,'" said Toth. "It helps to know for that period of time, at least, some of them were listening."

Back to other CDC news for March 18, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
St. Petersburg Times
03.12.03; Michele Miller

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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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.
 
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on School-Based HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs

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