Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader Examines Attitudes Toward HIV/AIDS Among Pennsylvania Youth
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader on Sunday in the second article of a two-part series on HIV/AIDS examined the attitudes of Pennsylvania teenagers toward the disease. Lea Dougherty, director of community services for the United Neighborhood Centers of Lackawanna County, said, "Youth today don't think they're at risk. Because it's not in the media as much, they don't think it applies to them." However, statistics show that most teens are engaging in behavior that puts them at high risk of contracting HIV, such as unprotected sex or injection drug use. Health officials and advocates say that "the bottom line is that lots of kids are having lots of sex" and they might not learn about how to protect themselves from HIV in public school sex education classes because of the increasing focus on abstinence as the only reliable means of prevention, according to the Times Leader. At the same time, illicit drug use in the state "has skyrocketed," according to Stacey Kulp, director of the HIV Planning Coalition. However, HIV/AIDS educators are allowed to discuss illegal drug use only in the context of urging teens to avoid it, the Times-Leader reports (Shurmaitis, Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, 10/24). The complete article is available online. The first article in the series also is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.