HIV Education

HIV Education

HIV epidemic proved to be a very serious problem for the whole humanity. What is really shocking is the speed of its spreading and the tempo of increase of number of infected people. Every year more and more people die or are registered as living with HIV, and these numbers continue to grow. Due to this, this is urgent and absolutely necessary to work out the concepts of HIV prevention, where one of the important ones should be HIV education. Nowadays scientists and doctors know much more about HIV, about the ways of transmission and possible treatment procedures. This is evident, that further researches are necessary to overcome this disease. However as we already said – prevention is the key element for protecting people from HIV. Education is very important in fighting with HIV, first of all if we are speaking about young people. Thus there are two main reasons, why HIV education is so important: to prevent them from being infected, as very often HIV is transmitted through unsafe sex contacts and drugs usage and to reduce stigma and discrimination, because people, who are already infected, experience discrimination in health care, employment or housing spheres (Aggleton, 2).
Before pointing out the main concepts of HIV education, we should identify the roots of the problem. As we already mentioned HIV is transmitted mostly sexually or via drug usage. These activities are considered by most of adults to be absolutely inappropriate for young people and thus there is no need in any education. Unfortunately, the solution of the problem is not so easy and young people continue to abuse drugs and have sexual relations, and if they know nothing about HIV danger, this will only worsen the situation. They should be aware of the global epidemic of AIDS and of the ways of preventing the infection.
From the above said we can conclude, that moral judgments of these activities should be separated from AIDS education, which teaches not moral rules of behavior, but practical application of safety methods in any case. Some researchers supported the point of view, that such type of education can be stimulation for young people to try out sex and drugs. In reality, the chain goes the other way, due to the fact, that teens start to have their sexual experience rather early, they need sexual health information and education at the same time. There were various approaches to AIDS education developed. In some countries sexual health education is provided at some certain stage during the process of usual school education. However, there is a great number of AIDS education possibilities outside schools as well, as for example through media, doctors, parents and even peers. In some countries special schools for HIV education are opened (Aggleton, 5). In the countries, where there are no costs for providing this type of education, AIDS education is imported by foreign governments and charity organizations as a part of general HIV prevention activity.
One of the weak points of AIDS education is that, it is not taught separately, but only as a part of sex education. In reality, the dimensions of the problem of AIDS are so big, that there should probably be separate lessons for teenagers.
Other thing to be considered here is the fact, that not all children attend schools. There can be various reasons starting from lack of money by their parents to their exclusion from school. Thus there is a necessity of additional sources of information about HIV for young people, apart of schools. One of the most influential is certainly the media or even street performances. Most of the young people spend their time watching television or listening to radio. One of the brightest examples of anti-AIDS campaigns is in South Africa – “LoveLife used eye-catching posters and billboards to tell young people that sex was fun, but that it could be dangerous, too. The campaign also inserted its message into TV soaps that were popular with young people, and used rap and kwaito music to get its message across” (Aggleton, 8).
Finally we should stress the importance of HIV education for the future. No matter what are the results of the current debates about the forms and ways of AIDS education, it is necessary to remember, that being informed helps young people to be timely protected, which is very important in overcoming HIV in general. Even if we are lucky in the future to have the medicine available to fight against AIDS, the best way will be still to prevent it.
The key concepts of HIV education should be availability of information, mutual respect and trust and absence of any moral judgments.

Works cited:

Aggleton, P. Success in HIV Prevention. Public Health Division, Department of Human Services, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2006

Teaching and Learning about HIV Sex Education Forum, National Children’s Bureau, 2003

The Sound of Silence: Difficulties in communicating on HIV/AIDS in schools. Actionaid, 2003