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UBC Theses and Dissertations

School-based education for the prevention of the human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases in adolescents Milligan, C. Dawne


This thesis seeks to answer the questions “What combination of knowledge, skills and action is necessary to facilitate protection against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in adolescents?” and “How does current education for the prevention of HIV/STD in British Columbia schools compare with these requirements?” A literature review of contemporary school-based substance abuse, pregnancy and HIV/AIDS/STD prevention programs was undertaken, with specific attention paid to theories underlying the programs. Interviews based on the literature and theory review were then conducted in three school districts in British Columbia to obtain a picture of local school-based HIV/STID prevention education. Students need to understand their level of risk and methods of preventing disease and to feel motivated and capable of implementing these methods with support from their peers and families. Educators in British Columbia are engaged in a struggle to provide the needed information, skills and support within an extremely limited time framework. They lack ministerial direction, stated goals and objectives and standardized measurement and evaluation tools with regard to HIV/STD prevention, and are facing dwindling opportunities for in-service/ training. The final chapter offers a set of recommendations. These include a clear statement of acceptance of responsibility for HIV/STD education by the Ministry of Education; joint program planning and implementation by the Ministries of Education, Health and Social Services; the creation of local school-community health advisory boards (integrating health agencies, school personnel, parents, students and community leaders into school health program planning, implementation and evaluation); increased support for the implementation of “Learning for Living”, British Columbia’s comprehensive school health program; expansion of mandatory health education courses for Grades 5-12; provision of adequate training and in-service for educators; increased attention to the needs of out-of-the mainstream youth; implementation of curricula, standards/goals/objectives and measurement/evaluation tools for HIV/STD education; provision of condoms to students free of charge; and continued and increased attention to social problems such as poverty, substance abuse and the perceived lack of life opportunities that predispose youth to problem behaviour.

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