HIV-prevention is important if the global efforts to eradicate AIDS epidemic will be realistic. A school based programme is also essential as most school age children are adolescents and new HIV infection (incidence) is common among adolescents of school age and providing such with prevention education empowers them towards personal protection. Furthermore, it is important as school students are more eager to learn new information and the school is a veritable avenue to reach large population of young people (Wilson, 2010).
There are two major packages involved in HIV prevention education in schools namely the abstinence and comprehensive packages. The abstinence package is limited in that it only emphasises benefits of delaying sex till marriage without emphasis on how to protect students if he or she chooses to have sex. The comprehensive approach promotes delayed sex initiation while it also educates on significance of condom use. There are various ways a teacher can add HIV education to health classroom curriculum.
Consideration in adding HIV education to health classroom curriculum Adding an HIV prevention school curriculum demands a consideration of existing local guidelines and legislation that directs the type and scope of HIV prevention or sex education that can be given in that locality. The cultural consideration is also important as there are usually cultural differences regarding issues that can be compulsorily part of HIV prevention education, for instance, human sexuality.
A sound awareness of prevailing cultural and religious beliefs allows HIV prevention education to sensitively, yet efficiently handle issues in such a manner that does not contradict or conflict the existing values of young school age learners. There is also need to consider state of students as some students in endemic areas are already infected with HIV and this will influence the approach adopted. Family life and sexuality of students is another issue. HIV prevention education should address individuals of all sexualities. Starting point
The starting point is talking to the students and allowing them to ask questions. It is important to ask them what they expect from the programme and assess their present knowledge so as to know where to concentrate and where their present knowledge is limited. (Wilson, 2010). Cross curricular approach This ensures that it is not only the scientific basis of HIV transmission that is integrated into the curriculum but also the social aspect of HIV/AIDS . The curriculum should involve real life situation including AIDS awareness and not just biological and medical facts about HIV virus.
Take for instance the biological knowledge of the disease will not assist the student to negotiate condom use and hence the need to discuss vital issues likes sexuality and drug use as well as relationships in the curriculum (Danny etal, 2009). Active learning approach This implies students are allowed to participate, involve and use the given information as well as apply them. Providing information about HIV prevention alone is not effective. Active participation can be via role play and group work . This allows for skill building such as how to say ‘No’ to Sex.
Here, the teacher may explain how HIV is transmitted, the various signs and symptoms and how HIV is not transmitted. A medical specialist may also be invited to give health talk on the subject matter. The teacher may demonstrate these by showing pictures of those already infected, the various means of transmission and non-transmission. Films and posters of those infected can also be shown in class. Teachers also gives examples of high risk behaviour using charts and students are later asked to give examples (Danny etal, 2009).
Active learning is a useful means of imparting young people and inculcating in them HIV prevention and social skills. Take for instance the teacher gives behavioural cards to students having divided them into groups of 5s and ask students to assign the behavioural cards to the corresponding risk sign and discuss just like the teacher had earlier explained . Active learning makes HIV prevention education to be fun and enjoyable. On a discussion of abstinence for instance, after the teacher might have defined the concept and the associated myths and facts, students then discuss why young people may want to have sex (Wilson, 2010)
The use of quizzes, drama and AIDS games This allows for assessment of what students have learned and gives them opportunity to put into practice, the information given to them. In HIV prevention game, colored pebbles are given to students with more colours given to a student than the other and the students are subsequently asked to trade the colored pebbles with one another. At the end of the game, those with more of red pebbles are regarded as HIV infected and those with more of blue have used condom while those with more of yellow are regarded to have abstained.
This whole exercise makes the process a fun and enjoyable. References Wilson, S. N (2010). Sexuality Education: Our Current Status, and an Agenda for 2010 Family Planning Perspectives Volume 32, Number 5, September/October 2000 Retrieved on August 20, 2010 from http://alanguttmacherinstitute. com/pubs/journals/3225200. html Danny etal (2009). AIDS/HIV Education for Preservice Elementary Teachers Journal of School Health Volume 60, Issue 6, pages 262–265, August 1990 Retrieved on August 20, 2010 from http://onlinelibrary. wiley. com/doi/10. 1111/j. 1746-1561. 1990. tb05930. x/abstract