Service Learning. HIV/AIDS Prevention

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1 Service Learning & HIV/AIDS Prevention Sponsored by: Anne Arundel County Department of Health 1 Harry S. Truman Parkway Annapolis, Maryland PHONE: FAX: Maryland Relay (TTY users):

2 What is Service Learning? Service learning is one of many important ways that students can become involved with their community. Student participation in community service activities builds an awareness of society and the connection between the classroom and real life issues. Service learning is a method in which students learn about and develop a commitment to addressing needs within their community. The Anne Arundel County Department of Health recognizes that students in grades 9 through 12 will earn the following service learning hours through the following courses: US Government: 10 hours Science (grade 10): 10 hours English (grade 11): 10 hours Health: 10 hours Specific requirements for service learning hours should be obtained from Anne Arundel County Public Schools. The Anne Arundel County Department of Health further recognizes that in accordance with COMAR, Anne Arundel County Public Schools shall provide annual instruction in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention education to all students at least once in grades 3 through 6, 6 through 9, and 9 through 12. Earning service learning hours on the topic of HIV and AIDS provides an unique opportunity to educate students by utilizing an educational method in which they learn and develop through active participation in service that is conducted in and meets the needs of the community. Importantly, service learning on the topic of HIV and AIDS offers an integrated approach to learning while influencing students in a positive way and providing them with the ability to reflect upon their service experience.

3 Why HIV/AIDS Prevention? Teens face pressure every day To use alcohol To use drugs To have sex It is vitally important that teens learn the facts about HIV transmission and prevention - not misinformation from their peers. The risk of getting HIV is very real for teens. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 85% of all new HIV infections result from sexual transmission. If alcohol or drugs are involved, it is hard to make safe choices to protect your health and wellbeing. Not abusing alcohol or drugs is a very important part of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Chlamydia continues to be the single most reported disease in Anne Arundel County, with most cases between the ages of 15 to 24 years of age. Any time you are diagnosed with an STD, you are three to five times more likely to become infected with HIV than a person without an STD. Most teens are infected with HIV through sexual intercourse. HIV/AIDS prevention is the first step! This toolkit is one of many ways that the Anne Arundel County Public Schools and Anne Arundel County Department of Health hope to engage teenagers and help them become aware of the risk factors, while providing accurate, relevant information on the topic of HIV.

4 What is HIV/AIDS? What is HIV/AIDS? HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and is the virus that causes AIDS. The virus damages and kills the cells of the immune system (the body s infection fighting system). As a result, it affects the body's ability to fight off infections. The term AIDS is used to describe the later stages of HIV infection. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but it is treatable and many people now live a long time managing the infection as a chronic medical condition. If treated properly, HIV infection can be prevented from developing into AIDS. How do I get it? HIV is passed on through bodily fluids (semen or vaginal fluids) and blood from a person infected with HIV. Most people get the virus by having unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex (having sex without using a condom) with someone who has HIV. A person can also get HIV by sharing drug needles with someone who is infected with HIV. Finally, HIV can be passed on from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breast feeding. If a woman is pregnant, it is very important to get tested for HIV since treatment can protect her baby. What are the symptoms of HIV? Many people do not have any symptoms and often look and feel healthy for years after infection (25% of people infected with HIV do not know they have the disease). Some people may have a temporary flu-like illness within three to six weeks after infection. This is called acute HIV syndrome, which may include fever, headache, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, rash and enlarged lymph glands. People infected with HIV can develop many symptoms and diseases over time, which help to diagnose AIDS. How can I prevent getting HIV/AIDS? The best way to prevent getting HIV is to avoid sexual contact with an infected person. One way to do this is by practicing abstinence. Abstinence means not having sex with anyone. Another way to prevent getting HIV is by having only one partner who only has sex with you. Be sure to have yourself and your partner tested before having sex for the first time. People who decide to have sex, especially if they have multiple partners, must be responsible for protecting themselves and others from infections. Do this by knowing the right way to use condoms and using them every time you have sex. Condoms can help prevent the spread of HIV. Though not 100% effective, condoms are the best protection. Even if using another birth control method, use a condom if there is a risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease during sex. Avoid abusing alcohol and drugs because they can prevent you from making safe choices to protect your health.

5 What is HIV/AIDS? Is there a test and treatment for HIV/AIDS? Yes. If your sex partner or you have had unprotected sex, had an STD or shared needles, you could be carrying the virus and not know it. Get tested! There are three types of HIV tests available that are used to detect HIV infection. A person may have their blood drawn, have their oral fluid collected by gently swabbing their gums or have a test on a small drop of blood collected from the finger. The tests look for antibodies produced by the body to fight HIV. HIV testing is offered in many health care settings, such as your doctor s office, health department, health clinics and hospitals. It can take as long as 6 months for HIV antibodies to show up in a blood sample. If you think you have been exposed to HIV, but you test negative, it is important to get tested again in 6 months to be sure you are not infected. Meanwhile, take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. If you are infected, you can still pass HIV to another person during this time. If you test positive for HIV, early medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well, delay the onset of AIDS, and prevent or treat some life-threatening conditions. Treatment for HIV is a combination of medicines called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Your doctor will determine whether or not treatment is necessary. If you are diagnosed with HIV, make sure your partners get tested. Do not have sex until you have discussed options for safe sex with your doctor. If you are pregnant, get tested for STDs and HIV early and again late in your pregnancy. What happens if I have HIV/AIDS and I am not treated? AIDS occurs if you have had specific illnesses (opportunistic infections) or a set of symptoms that tell your doctor that you have moved from HIV to AIDS. Opportunistic infections are infections caused by germs that do not normally infect a healthy body, and they are common in people with AIDS. These infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi; many of them are unusual germs. People with AIDS also have an increased risk of developing cancer, such as Kaposi s sarcoma, cervical cancer and cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas. People who have AIDS most often die from opportunistic infections or cancers because their immune system isn t able to protect them anymore. If AIDS is not treated, the body will not be able to fight off infections well.

6 Objectives By the end of the project, students will be able to answer the following questions: 1. What is HIV? 2. What is AIDS? 3. How is HIV transmitted? 4. How can you prevent getting HIV? 5. What are risk factors and how would that relate to becoming infected with HIV? 6. Why is it important to test people for HIV? 7. What resources are available in Anne Arundel County to get tested for HIV or to receive an educational presentation? 8. What resources are available in Anne Arundel County for people who are HIV positive?

7 Service Learning Projects The following service learning projects range from easy (a few hours) to more complicated with the potential of earning many hours. The Anne Arundel County Department of Health is here to help and we look forward to your questions. Please call our HIV/STD Education and Prevention Program at and ask to speak with one of our Health Educators. 1. Write an article for the school paper and include statistical information regarding the HIV epidemic in Anne Arundel County. 2. Create a HIV themed poster or posters to be placed in your school or local health department. 3. Develop a brochure encouraging others to be tested for HIV. 4. Develop a brochure providing information on HIV, how it is transmitted and how you can protect yourself. 5. Write a poem about HIV. Students can also videotape themselves reading their poem to be presented at a sponsored event on HIV awareness within the County. 6. Write a song about HIV. Students can videotape themselves singing their song to present at a sponsored event on HIV awareness within the County. 7. Host a film event or Community Dialogue Day. View and discuss a film related to HIV/AIDS. Collect donations to be given to a local HIV/AIDS supporting organization. 8. Attend a local World AIDS Day celebration or become a member of a local World AIDS Day Committee. Earn extra hours by presenting your work (e.g., brochure, article, poem, song, display) at the event. 9. Research the impact of HIV/AIDS in your community. Identify community resources that work toward HIV prevention and resources that assist those infected with HIV/AIDS. Report your finding to your classmates, Teen Summit, etc. 10. Create an informational display on HIV/AIDS to be exhibited at your local school, health department, Teen Summit or World AIDS Day event.

8 Resources Anne Arundel County Department of Health o HIV/AIDS Services (fact sheets, statistical information, etc.) Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Infectious Disease & Environmental Health Administration o HIV/AIDS U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention o HIV/AIDS Among Youth U.S. Department of Health & Human Services o AIDS.gov

9 Summary Service learning can be a fun and enjoyable activity that builds social, civic and academic skills while helping the community. It is critical that our youth learn about HIV prevention. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to be one of the most critical health issues the world has ever faced and has reached pandemic proportions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state the impact of HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the United States is estimated at over 1,106,400 persons, with one-fifth unaware of their infection (CDC, 2010). An estimated 56,300 persons in the United States are infected with HIV each year. Human immunodeficiency virus continues to be a concern for Anne Arundel County. The County ranks fifth among Maryland jurisdictions for HIV prevalence (living cases): Baltimore City (45.3%), Prince George s County (18.8%), Montgomery County (10.4%), Baltimore County (7.6%) and Anne Arundel County (3.4%) (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Infectious Disease & Environmental Health Administration [IDEHA] 2010). Without new opportunities to educate our youth, we cannot hope to be successful in halting the spread of this disease.

10 For more information, contact the HIV/AIDS Program. 1 Harry S. Truman Parkway Annapolis, MD Phone: Fax: The services and facilities of the Anne Arundel County Department of Health are available to all without regard to race, color, religion, political affiliation or opinion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or disability. 03/2011

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