THE facts about HIV/AIDS should be taught in schools for a very simple reason - one cannot expect kids to understand all the dynamics of this subject simply by basing on reading or discovery. They need to be told this stuff, not in a ‘you can get HIV/AIDS!’ kind of way, but more in an educational way.
Presenting the information in a way that shows how HIV is contracted, how it turns into AIDS, and what you can do to help prevent yourself or others from contracting it, is important.
Different countries in the world have tried to implement HIV/AIDS education in schools but full results are yet to be realised because implementation is, more often than not, done in a very sporadic manner.
In Rwanda, HIV/AIDS and its preventive and control measures are taught at the A’ Level. As a salvage measure, the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) made it mandatory for all schools to have anti-HIV/AIDS clubs whose implementation and effectiveness cannot be empirically established.
So, yes, children, especially teenagers, should be taught the facts about HIV/AIDS in schools, because some parents are either clueless about it or are too shy to speak about sex to their children and possibly don’t believe their kids will ever need to know because they will never catch it.
HIV/AIDS awareness is an essential part of both O’Level and A’Level education but also very necessary in elementary schools. HIV/AIDS plays a prominent role in our everyday life, despite what one may hope for or wish to believe.
Therefore, school education should not be solely based on HIV awareness, but should include holistic STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) awareness, including prevention and treatment methods.’
The basis of awareness in schools is necessitated by the fact that sexual activity occurs in individuals of school-going age and that schools are the most effective places of information dissemination among a population of that age. Therefore, STD awareness would be most beneficial to society if its information were disseminated in schools.
At high school level, individuals experience the most biological and hormonal changes that, in part, influence their sexual activity. Also, unlike older, college level students, they lack prior sexual experience. They are, therefore, the most likely to be affected by STDs. It would be most practical to implement STD awareness as part of the educational programme in high schools from as early as possible as a regular (not occasional) part of the curricula.
Overall, the point is that the youthful population that is so vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and STD infection should be empowered to make the right life choices while they pursue their education as well.