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January 17, 2008

Washington, DC, Schools to Expand HIV/AIDS Curriculum

Now that the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Washington, DC, is the highest in the United States, the city’s public schools will be instituting a comprehensive HIV curriculum this fall, The Washington Post reports (Washingtonpost.com, 1/17).

The new curriculum will target a range of students, from fifth grade through high school. It will teach them how HIV is and is not transmitted, what the symptoms are and how to eliminate stigma toward those living with the virus. As they approach graduation, the Post reports, the program will urge students to stay current in their knowledge of the disease as well as on the latest research on HIV/AIDS.

Last month, an independent advocacy group gave the Washington, DC, public school system a “D” on a report evaluating its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to the article, the DC State Board of Education voted the following day to push forward with the curriculum, which will go beyond “abstinence-only” education to provide more detailed and complete safe-sex information.

“We know that there’s a need to have immediate HIV education,” says Richard Nyankori, assistant to DC Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. “We’re in a crisis.”


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