AIDS Ed in the 'Hood

Bronx Teenagers Take Prevention to the Streets

In front of a crowd of 300, most of them high school students, a young man holds a dildo in the anatomically correct position. The audience whoops--but pays close attention as his female colleague demonstrates how to put on a condom. Later in this Town Hall Meeting for Youth, held last month and sponsored by Montefiore's Adolescent AIDS Program, a girl stands up and says, "I'm still a virgin and I'm 17 years old." She gets a thunderous ovation. Who says sex ed can't address both abstinence and sex?

Indeed, AIDS education must reach many different kinds of people--as the six outreach workers learned. In the Bronx's St. James Park, an 18-year-old woman said she had just started having sex--and that she made her boyfriend get tested and bring her the written results before they had intercourse. But another woman told the workers that their information was too late for her, because she was already pregnant. Without missing a beat, they responded, "You can still use it next time."

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