| Alternative techniques - For teaching about HIV/AIDS in the classroom |
Ask ten people on the street and the answer you will probably get is "It is a disease of commercial sex workers." Unfortunately, in the beginning of the AIDS education program in Thailand, this was the message: "AIDS is a disease of sex service workers and people who shoot drugs." And unfortunately, this message has led most people to believe they are safe from AIDS as long as they choose commercial sex workers who are clean and expensive, or only have sex with friends. The result is that AIDS is now spreading into all sectors of the community particularly to housewives and students.
"AIDS is a disease of "people," not "Groups" of people. In your AIDS education or conversations with friends about AIDS prevention consider these important new messages.
New messages about AIDS prevention
AIDS is no longer a disease of certain sectors of Thai society. It is no longer a disease of people who practice "risk behavior." AIDS has entered the community. AIDS has entered the family. What can we do now?
Here are three new messages about AIDS in the community.
I. AIDS is a danger to the family.
If a man, a husband, has sex outside of the home, with anyone - a commercial sex worker, a friend, anyone - without using a condom, he can easily acquire the virus. Once acquired, there is no way to cure it had he probably will not know he has it. But he can easily transmit it to his wife, who can easily transmit it to their unborn children.
II. AIDS is a danger to women.
Women need to understand how HIV is transmitted and prevented. They must understand their potential for acquiring it. They must not be the unknowing recipients.
Housewives must learn how to talk to their husbands about safety for themselves and the family. They must learn how to use a condom and how to discuss it.
It as been predicted that by the year 2543 (2000) there will be few uninfected young men. What will happen when these infected young men marry? They will look and feel healthy for many years, but unknowingly infect their wives and children.
Young women need to be made aware. They need to learn how to discuss sexual safety with their future husbands. They need to learn about blood testing and, most importantly, about counseling and education on how to stay safe.
III. AIDS is a danger to students, to school leavers, and to all young people.
The culture is changing. Students and young people in general, especially in the cities, are having sexual relations. And like students and young people everywhere, they trust each other, trust each other to be free of disease, of HIV.
What message will reach them? Will they need to see their friends fall ill with AIDS before they realize that AIDS is not about trust? Maybe you will have a chance to talk to a few, perhaps speak from your own perspective as a young person who understands.