The American Medical Students Association is implementing its first AIDS awareness outreach program to local high schools.
Students Teaching AIDS to Students educators will present information to high school students ages 14 to 16. Members said they hope to reduce the AIDS epidemic by teaching students safe sex practices.
“We’re hoping to spread around the area and teach as many schools as we can,” said Jaime Libes, STATS coordinator.
On-campus training for AMSA members, which took place Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Marvin Center, was taught by Metro Teen AIDS, an organization that educates about AIDS. The trainees were instructed on the primary ways AIDS is contracted and how to teach others to come to terms with the disease.
The Safe Sex Party, an event to raise awareness about contraceptive use, will be the second phase of the training. The party will be in late October.
An American Red Cross question and answer session where STATS educators will have the opportunity to hear typical questions asked by students follows the Safe Sex Party in early November.
Immediately following these training sessions, AMSA members will delve into the schools to educate high schoolers.
Area schools have shown interest in educating students about AIDS, but some are wary of allowing AIDS educators to make presentations because the material can be sexually explicit, AMSA executive board members said.
“Schools are hesitant in signing up,” said Nissrin Ezmerli, president of AMSA. “They want to make sure we’re presenting the right material so we can transfer accurate knowledge to kids. Realistically most kids are having sex.”
One area school has agreed to the training. The material to be presented to high school students still is being determined.
“People tell us there are certain things we can and cannot talk about, especially when we go to schools and churches,” said Ife Modupe, manager of D.C. Programs, which oversees Metro Teen AIDS. “We stick to the guidelines. We honor their wishes because we want to come back.”
“We feel AIDS is a big thing,” Ezmerli said. “As future doctors we’ll be dealing with it a lot. The earlier we start the better. If you tell kids to first practice abstinence then safe sex, we can make a difference.”