AIDS Education: The Earlier We Start the Better
BY: DUNIA DEBK
It is a requirement of the Florida State statute that schools deliver an AIDS prevention curriculum. The Miami-Dade County HIV/AIDS education program works in tandem with the Sunshine State Standards which identify what Florida public school students should know at each grade level. Since 2004 Miami-Dade County has had a curriculum in place that encompasses grades K-12. By law the education is there so why are the numbers rising?
Miami-Dade has risen to be one of the highest rated counties in the country for the outbreak of HIV and AIDS which indicates that more needs to be done. According to Daniel Oré, Miami-Dade County Public Schools HIV/AIDS education program director, about 50% of student are now sexually active. From that group only 60% are using protection. So it is clearly not solely an issue of HIV/AIDS education but also a need for better sex education. There are other issues that need to be addressed within the school system more thoroughly to ensure that the students are fully understanding the fact that everything they do has a consequence. Underage drinking, substance abuse, and reckless partying at a young age are all issues that should be touched upon and could help make a difference in our youth and our growing HIV/AIDS rates. There will be a new curriculum in place next year with the hopes of delivering the message more effectively. In developing their new curriculum the MDC public schools HIV/AIDS education program is talking to youths that have already gone through it to find ways to make the message more interesting, more relatable and more generational relevant to them. The program will also be taking a cultural perspective on how they deliver the message taking into account that there are differences in the perspective of the illness.
“Parents and taxpayers need to really look at ways to increase funding towards programs like HIV/AIDS education in the schools and other programs that advertise for the rights of children which for many years have not gotten the attention that they deserve and so this is why you get what you have right now,” is what Daniel Oré thinks could improve the overall situation of the county.