HIV rates are stabilized, but there are still many at-risk persons. As each generation reaches sexual maturity, they need to continually be educated about the risks of HIV / AIDS in order to curtail the spread of the disease. There has been considerable research as to the best ways for the education system in particular to handle this issue, and this report will synthesize some of those issues. There is no set role in the curriculum for HIV / AIDS education, but perhaps with refinement of the concept in the education profession, that role can be determined.
Kirby, Laris and Rolleri (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of HIV education programs around the world. They found that two-thirds of the programs "significantly improved one or more sexual behaviors." Their study also evaluated the traits of the programs, to determine if there were common traits of successful programs. There 17 such traits identified and these can help with the development of programs at the local level that have the desired results. They also found -- and this is important for domestic policy -- that the existence of such programs did not hasten or increase sexual behavior. It is also considered that there are cultural differences that could affect the outcomes of such programs but the authors noted that this does not appear to be the case -- such programs are effective wherever they are tried.
Kirby (1995) notes that while society is worried about increasing amounts of sexual risk-taking...
Instead, he points out that the best way to manage such risks is to utilize education programs. There are constraints, he notes, in particular with respect to the availability of teachers, funds and time in public schools, but that there is tremendous public value in having such programs, especially where HIV incidence is concerned.
Thomas and Quinn (1991) note that there is a corollary to the current issue HIV / AIDS education in schools with the programs to educate the African-American community about syphilis from 1932 to 1972. The authors note that we can learn some lessons from those programs, in terms of strategies and tools that might be effective, and what might not be as effective. The authors note that one of the issues in the syphilis situation was that there was a lack of trust between the community and public health authorities. This is something that is likely to occur again when introducing HIV / AIDS education into certain communities where a general distrust of authority exists. The authors suggest courses of action that could help to mitigate such an issue.
Lastly, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Alleyne & Brasfield (1995) note that there are alternatives to education programs in public schools. They argue that behavioral skills training programs can also be effective in HIV / AIDS education. They do not offer suggestions about how such programs should be structured and funded. Education therefore is a more valuable tool if only because most of the resources are already in place, but this study does offer the idea that alternatives exist, and certainly if behavioral skills training is effective it should be incorporated into an educational program.
Impact of the Problem
HIV / AIDS is a major social problem, because it is a disease that ultimately leads to sickness and death. It is, however, preventable, which means that it is incumbent on society to find ways to reduce this risk. The issue is of particular concern where young people are involved, because they often do not realize the…
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