SLSP Assignment 3: Final Essay
Topic: HIV and Youth Policy
Among developed countries, the United States of America has the highest number of population who has sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Although rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnoses remained steady from 2006 to 2009, the amount of youth suffering from HIV infection has been increasing significantly over the same period. Approximately 69,000 youth are suffering from HIV infection in 2008 in which half of infected population are not aware of they have caught this disease (CDC 2012, 1). In respond to this situation, measures are made by government and civil society to solve spread of HIV among youth aged between 13 to 24. Sex education is one of the main methods implemented by the Centre Disease Control and Prevention, a government department. In this essay, two different approaches of sex education will be discussed, which are abstinence-only education and comprehensive sex education. Next, the differences between abstinences-only education and comprehensive sex education will be identified. Abstinences-only education can be defined as educating the society that sexual behavior shall be prohibited before marriage. Whereas for comprehensive sex education, it can be defined as educating youth to develop correct values, attitudes, insights about sexuality and make responsible decision dealing with relationship and sex by adopting use of protection and preventing use of alcohol and drugs (CDC 2011). To begin with, values, notions and vested interests reflected in youth policy would be explored. Then, theoretical relevance of this policy will be discussed. Lastly, the effectiveness of both sex education approaches will be investigated.
First of all, not only numerous values and ideas are reflected in both sex education approaches but also vested interests of stakeholders are reflected too. Education is the main idea and way to raise awareness of the potential threat of HIV disease confronted by the society. In both sex education approaches, prevention is an important value in dealing with issues brought up by HIV illnesses. Accessibility of medical services is a crucial factor in resolving this issue as information about medical services is taught in some comprehensive sex programs. In addition, integrating youth and interest of other stakeholders into the policymaking is an important aspect for achieving an effective policy. There are different stakeholders involved in process of policymaking who are youth, parents, government, non-government organizations, health care services institutions and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The American government hold a vital role in implementing youth health policy which directs and controls society. Establishing rules and conventions are done by this political organizations and system. Negotiating among groups, agents and actors within society is crucial for introducing an effective policy to tackle issues brought by HIV illnesses.
Next, theoretical relevance that reflected by values, ideas and vested interest of stakeholders of the policy will be identified. The intervention and contribution by government and civil society proved the importance of social research and policy in the modern world. As the United States of America is facing an increasing HIV infection rates among the youth community, various policies and strategies to resolve these issues are implemented by the government. In order to tackle this problem effectively, social research is required to recognize issues aroused by HIV comprehensively. For example, research indentifying connection between HIV, sexuality, relationship and poverty is needed. Social science fosters the understanding of contested and 2
hegemonic ideas and recognition of materialization ideas included in public policies. Therefore, formulation of sexual youth health policies can enhance the quality of lives of American youth.
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