Published Online: February 5, 1997

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Characteristics of Effective AIDS Education Curricula

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  • A narrow focus on risk-taking behaviors that may lead to HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy.
  • A theoretical understanding of how behaviors can be changed to make effective, healthy decisions.
  • At least 14 hours of instruction and/or the use of small-group exercises to increase the efficiency of the time spent.
  • Use of a variety of teaching methods to help students personalize information, such as role-playing, visiting drugstores to gather information about contraceptives, or interviewing parents about sex.
  • Basic, accurate information about the risks of unprotected sex and the methods of avoiding intercourse.
  • Activities that address social pressures on sexual behaviors, such as peer pressure or media influences.
  • Reinforcement of clear and appropriate values to strengthen cultural attitudes against unprotected sex.
  • Activities that help students practice communication, negotiation, and refusal skills.
  • Training for teachers to implement the program.

More information is available in "A Review of Educational Programs Designed to Reduce Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors Among School-Aged Youth in the United States,'' by Douglas B. Kirby, director of research at ETR Associates. Copies are $10 each from ETR Associates, Research Department, P.O. Box 1830, Santa Cruz, Calif. 95061-1830; (408) 438-4060.

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