Indiana: Teen-Led Event to Offer HIV Tests, Teach About STDs
May 1, 2009
Today, students from three central Illinois high schools are learning about HIV and STDs during an event at the Indianapolis Urban League. "Teens Get Tested" is the culmination of a year-long senior project by Indianapolis Metropolitan High School seniors Edward Huffman and LaRenda Davis.
The two students learned from classmates and friends that most were having sex and took little protection against STDs, and yet still believed they were not at risk for HIV. Last year, one of Huffman's sister's friends died of AIDS at age 19. As Huffman and Davis examined the issue, they were surprised that few health agencies had any specific, coordinated outreach for teens.
"Teens Get Tested" will feature free HIV tests, health education speakers, a skit on teen relationships, and an HIV-positive speaker. Marion County has a high rate of STDs, particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia, and teens are especially at risk, said Deidre Coleman, health and wellness coordinator for Indianapolis Urban League.
While many area teens have taken on the task of educating their peers about sex, holding a countywide HIV testing and education event is unique, said Coleman. "Youth are educated from other youth," she said. "That's who they listen to, whether we like it or not. It's a true need."
Though Huffman and Davis will soon be off to college, they are hopeful the outreach they launched will continue in future years, and maybe even go national.
05.01.2009; Andy Gammill
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.