AIDS in Women:
Due to the fervent efforts of health educators, young people today have a very intimate knowledge of HIV and AIDS. These students were born in the early eighties at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Teachers guided students through years of health classes in their junior high and high school years and informed students about the destructive nature of the AIDS virus and ways in which it can and cannot be contracted. Health educators made sure that students were well-informed about HIV and presented the topic as being gender neutral. Although pop culture and the media claimed that homosexual males were responsible for the epidemic, this idea was never presented in the classroom. Though I am grateful for this aspect of AIDS education, it seems that there was an important aspect missing from the curriculum: the more numerous negative effects that the disease has for women.
Health education needs to present the effects of AIDS to women and encourage them to be more concerned about contracting and living with the disease.
In spite of this need for reform, however, health educators may feel uneasy about changing their curriculum and argue that there are a number of reasons to keep HIV and AIDS curriculum the same. One reason that they might have for maintaining the current curriculum is that they fear that presenting HIV as more of a woman's issue could decrease awareness of the disease in men. However, this probably will not happen. Many people, though not necessarily health educators, already view HIV as more of a man's disease. In fact, according to Allen E. Carrier of Aids Project Los Angeles, gay men aged 17-24 are at a very high risk for HIV infection and realize the dangers of unsafe sex but continue to engage in...