HIV Education in the Schools Across America
AIDS has devastated the lives of many citizens in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the number of AIDS infections among young Americans between the ages of 13 to 25 rose nearly 20 percent, and approximately 50 percent of new infections are among individuals who are younger than 25 years of age. Therefore, finding better methods to communicate the risk of AIDS transmission are greatly needed to protect our young people and preserve the next generation.
Young people in the United States are at a persistent risk of HIV infection. This risk is especially notable for youth of minority races and ethnicities. Continued HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence and delaying initiation of sexual relations, are required as new generations replace the older generations that benefited from earlier prevention strategies.
I believe that there should be more HIV and AIDS education in the school systems across America. I feel that this is an area of education that we could improve to protect and preserve our next generation. There are two reasons that I feel this way. My first reason is to prevent a student from being discriminated against, and the second reason is giving education to the students on preventing the spread of this disease.
My first reason for believing there should be more education about HIV and AIDS in the school system is the way I was treated when I was diagnosed with HIV. I was diagnosed with HIV at 14 years old and due to the lack of education to the teaching staff in the earlier years; I wasn’t permitted to attend class in a regular school setting. Instead I was forced to be home schooled by the board of education, (homebound program) in which I wasn’t taught all the subjects as a regular student would be. I wasn’t taught mathematics at a high school level so when I decided to attend college I had a lot of difficulties in the area of mathematics. On the other hand, English was drilled into my head like a nail, which I am grateful for. The reason for this was that my homebound teacher was an English Professor before she started teaching in the homebound program.
Even though I wasn’t taught as well as those students attending classes in a regular school setting, I have become an excellent student in college despite my difficulties in math. I do believe, however, that the school system has gotten better. I haven’t had any problems with discrimination while attending college. That, at least, is a good thing!
Secondly, I feel that if there had been more education on the prevention and spread of this disease, I might not have contracted it. Had I known about the risks of this disease, I may not be infected today. Even though I contracted HIV through a blood transfusion, maybe if I had been more educated on the ways it is transmitted, I could have somehow prevented myself from becoming infected.
Therefore, I believe that there should be more education for students. The students are our next generation. They should be educated about the risks of HIV infection. I feel it should be a requirement for the schools to inform students about the dangers of the disease as well as the myths of being around someone who is infected.
Even now I feel I have to be careful when I disclose my diagnosis, which prevents me from making friends for fear of being rejected. I feel that if there were more education, I could feel more comfortable talking about my situation of having this disease. Ultimately, I wouldn’t be afraid of causing a panic among my peers. Finally, I believe with more education it would prevent the rise of students becoming infected with this disease. I believe that it is our obligation to protect the next generation.