This site contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for allaudiences.
To provide age appropriate, medically accurate HIV/STD and teen pregnancy prevention education to all school-age children with an emphasis on minority populations whom are disproportional impacted, through a collaboration of the Department of Public Instruction, local school systems, higher education, state and local health departments, and community-based organizations.
GUIDELINES FOR HIV/STD AND TEEN PREGNANCY
PREVENTION IN SCHOOLS
In North Carolina HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy prevention education teaches that the expected standard for all school age children is Abstinence Until Marriage. However, according to General Statute (G.S.) 115C-81 Basic Education and the NC Healthful Living Essential Standards, the effectiveness and failure rates of condoms and other birth control methodsmust be taught in the seventh and eighth grades respectively.
Instruction in the use of and/or demonstration of condoms is a part of a comprehensive sexuality education program. Before a comprehensive sexuality education program is adopted, the local board of education shall conduct a public hearing and make all instructional materials available for review by parents or legal guardians for at least 30 days before the public hearing and 30 days afterthe hearing.
Each school year, before students may participate in any portion of an HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy prevention education program, the local boards of education shall adopt policies to provide opportunities either for parents and legal guardians to consent or for parents and legal guardians to withhold their consentto the students’ participation in any or all of these programs.
SCOPE OF ADOLESCENT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
North Carolina high school students participated in the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) that, in addition to other health related topics, assessed sexual behavior. The results of this survey provide representative data for all North Carolina high school students and reveal that 49% of all high school students and 64% of high school seniors have experienced sexual intercourse. About 9% of all high school students reported having had sex for the first time at the age of 13 or younger, and nearly 17% of students had had sex with four or more partners. Among students who had had sex recently (in the 3 months prior to the survey), 25% reported using drugs or alcohol before last intercourse. The more encounters and sexual partners an adolescent has without using protection, the greater risk of exposures to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. In 2011, less than half [46%] of high school students who had had sex recently reported using a condom the last time they had sex.
Additionally, in 2002, youth housed in juvenile detention centers were surveyed as part of a YRBS special project, and found many at high risk for HIV transmission. For example, 97% of those interviewed in detention centers had experienced sexual intercourse (62% before the age of 13), 73% had had four or more sexual partners, and 14% had injected illegal drugs. The survey also revealed that 11.5% of youths surveyed identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual (a question not asked on the statewide survey); 65% percent had been tested at least once for HIV and 75% had been taught about AIDS and HIV in the facility in which they were then detained (NC YRBS 2002).
ADOLESCENT HIV AND
OTHER SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES (STD)
According to Rotheram-Borus and Futterman (2000), adolescents ages 13 to 19 are at increased risk, both behaviorally and biologically, for HIV infection; over half of all adolescents infected with HIV are likely untested and unaware of their status. Substantial morbidity and social problems among youth are the result of unsafe sex practices resulting in unintended pregnancies and STDs, including HIV infection. Nearly half of all new sexually transmitted diseasesin NC occur in youth 15-24 years old.
Of all HIV disease reported in NC, 5% of the cases are among 13-19 year olds. This increases to 16% when the age range is expanded to age 24. The age range of 13 to 24 may better describe infections that likely occurred during adolescence because there could be significant delay between infection and subsequent testing and reporting. Among young males aged 13-24 years, 91% of reported HIV disease cases resulted from male-male sexual contact.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) as well as teen pregnancy are considered surrogate markers for HIV infection. Data from the North Carolina HIV/STD Prevention and Care Branch’s 2010 HIV/STD Surveillance Report illustrate the scope of chlamydia and gonorrhea, STDs treatable with antibiotics, in adolescents. If left untreated, these bacteria can lead to infertility later in life. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are predominantly found in younger age groups. For males, the highest rates of chlamydia are consistently found in the 20-24 age group, followed by those age15-19. For females the trend is reversed, with 15-19 year olds having the highest rates, followed by 20-24 year olds.
In North Carolina, gonorrhea rates mirror the chlamydia trends with respect to age. For males, the highest rates are consistently found in the 20-24 age group, followed by 25-29 age group. Until recently, the trend for females was reversed, with 15-19 year olds having the highest rates, followed by 20 to 22 year olds. In 2006, the rate of gonorrhea was 530.3 per 100,000 adolescents ages 13-19, who accounted for 26% of all cases. From 2005 to 2007, the rate for 20 to 24 year old females exceeded the rate for 15 to 19 year olds. These numbers do not include those who are infected and unaware of their status, as chlamydia and gonorrhea are often asymptomatic (showing no symptoms). The more sexual partners an adolescent has, the more susceptible he or she is to diseases that have no cure, such as herpes, genital warts (found in 99% of cervical cancer patients) and HIV/AIDS.
In North Carolina, reported cases and rates have been on the rise for all age groups, however, this may be a result of increased screening initiatives through the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Cumulative STD/HIV data for NC may be obtained at www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/hiv/.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has created an interactive web-based timeline that may be helpful in reviewing the many political, scientific, cultural, and community events that have occurred over the history of the AIDS epidemic. The timeline begins with 1981 and highlights such milestones as the establishment of the first community-based AIDS service provider in the U.S., the discovery of HIV,the establishment of UNAIDS, and the history of the International AIDS Conferences.
DOCUMENTS OF IMPORTANCE
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HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
N. C. Children’s AIDS Network Community Advisory Board
The Community Advisory Board is an advocacy group for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS which provides information on medications and treatments. Thereare opportunities for YOU to be involved if you are:
- A family member of an HIV infected/affected child/adolescent
- An adolescent infected with HIV
- An interested community member