Local and Community News
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.
04.24.03; Susan McDonough
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.