VENTURA COUNTY: Peer Educators Take Aim at HIV Prevention
Teens in Ventura County's Peer Education Program are being recruited to "reinforce what the students learn in the classroom" about HIV prevention, the Los Angeles Times reports. Modeled after a similar program in Los Angeles, the Ventura teens learn about HIV, talk with HIV-positive people and practice talking with their peers about HIV before they begin making one-hour presentations at youth clubs, churches and group homes. During their talks, the teens focus on how HIV is transmitted, the "myths and misconceptions" surrounding HIV and its modes of transmission and attempt to "raise the level of compassion for people with HIV." State law requires only that AIDS be taught once in middle school and once in high school. Looking to augment this education, Ventura County schools have trained 220 students in four years through peer education programs. John Elfers, who coordinates HIV education in the county's schools, said of the counselors, "They become the advocates, the champions, the torchbearers. They really are transformed by the experience" (Gorman, 9/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.