Article

Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention

Jessica M. Sales and Ralph J. DiClemente

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0115
Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention

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HIV/AIDS is the largest epidemic in modern history, resulting in approximately 25 million deaths since 1981, with an estimated 33.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Since the discovery of HIV/AIDS in 1981, researchers have been working to combat the spread of this devastating illness. In spite of recent attempts, there is neither a vaccine to prevent the acquisition of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, nor a cure for the illness once it is contracted. Thus, education-based prevention programs or “sex education” programs are among the strongest means of curtailing the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education because it is a means by which they can protect themselves against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV infection. Sex education programs, implemented in diverse venues including schools or medical clinics, typically provide information to young people to help them form healthy attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships, and intimacy. Sex education programs often also provide skills-based training to accompany knowledge so that young people can make informed decisions about their behavior, as well as feel capable of acting on and communicating those decisions to others. Sex education programs designed to reduce sexual and drug-associated HIV risk behaviors are, for all intents and purposes, today’s “HIV vaccine,” but there has been a great deal of debate on what constitutes appropriate content for sex education programs for young people. Recent reviews have identified effective components of sex education programs/interventions, and also many effective, evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs for diverse adolescent populations.

Article.  3462 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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