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California: Island School Gets Videos on AIDS

April 29, 2003

Stephen Fallon, a Florida-based AIDS activist and lecturer who wears his baseball cap backwards and silver hoop earrings in each ear, created a 1998 video to deliver vital but otherwise unexciting information about AIDS to teenagers. He uses comedy and teenage slang to help his young audiences identify with his message. The video, "Laughing and Learning About HIV/AIDS," is one of several AIDS prevention videos a Catholic Church-backed Alameda, Calif., ministry put into local school libraries recently.

The Alameda HIV/AIDS Education & Outreach Ministry scraped together $3,000 to place 11 books and 39 videos -- including Fallon's -- into all four Alameda high schools and eight middle schools, both Catholic and public.

"The videos stress abstinence ... as the only sure fire option" for avoiding the disease, said ministry Co-Chair Sue Spiersch, an Alameda grandmother who talks as openly and honestly about HIV/AIDS as Fallon does. But "we don't bury our heads in the sand," she said. "We know kids are not going to be abstinent." The age-specific material, purchased with money from the Alameda Rotary Club among other sources, encourages abstinence, protection and resisting peer pressure when deciding about sex.

An estimated 1,050 Californians under age 19 have AIDS, said Redge Norton of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Patricia Kevena-Fili of AIDS Project East Bay said Alameda has recorded 293 AIDS cases since 1980.

California law requires schools to provide AIDS prevention education once during middle school and once during high school. Alameda High School Principal Margie Sherratt said students learn about the disease during their current life issues class, a required course usually taken in the 10th grade.

Back to other CDC news for April 29, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Oakland Tribune
04.24.03; Susan McDonough

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 HIV Prevention Multimedia for Young People


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