California: HIV/AIDS Awareness Event Is Learning Experience for Youth
March 16, 2011
Several hundred youths from across Solano County took part in the "Passport for Health; What You Should Know About HIV/AIDS, Healthy Lifestyles, and Choices" conference at Fairfield High School in Fairfield on March 12. The six-hour event included HIV/AIDS prevention workshops designed to give teens much-needed information and guidance, as well as encouragement to be smart and confident. Presentations addressed peer pressure, avoiding and getting out of abusive relationships, anger management, and assertiveness.
"We're in our eighth year and that's sad when the message is still the same, but kids think they are invincible," said organizer Eva Coley of Vallejo. "Kids still think it's not going to happen to them. We have to keep hammering it home."
Teen B.J. Smith of Fairfield said he appreciated the workshop on anger and violence, especially when facilitator Jeri Marshall discussed society's expectations of how men should act. "I learned I don't need to be like everyone else," said Smith. "I can stay true to myself, do what I think is right and not do what others expect of me."
"It's a good thing to bring all these people together," said Austin Scott, a teen from Benicia. Attendees "are learning to be responsible, to do the right thing, grow up and be who they need to be."
A skit about how unprotected sex can lead to HIV/AIDS and other STDs impressed Keiana Smith. "It's kinda scary," the Vallejo youth said.
Vallejo Times Herald
03.13.2011; Sarah Rohrs
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