AIDS Education

Whereas the epidemic of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) currently threatens the physical health, mental health, and civil liberties of many persons in American society, and

Whereas, in 1986 the American Psychological Association adopted a comprehensive resolution outlining APA policies surrounding AIDS, including APA's strong commitment to public education regarding AIDS and its prevention, as well as education to combat irrational public fears of AIDS and its transmission, and

Whereas, empirical research has demonstrated that, in addition to imparting knowledge, educational programs designed to effect behavior change should address topics of decision making, risk assessment, attitude change, group norms, and other social and psychological processes, and

Whereas, an important strategy for such education should be to provide children and adolescents of all cultural and socio-economic groups with information about AIDS that is gender-relevant, culturally sensitive, and appropriate to their level of intellectual, emotional and social development, and

Whereas, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, has asserted that 'education concerning AIDS must start at the lowest grade possible as part of any health and hygiene program'.

Whereas, effective AIDS education for all age groups must address the behaviors through which AIDS can be transmitted, including but not limited to sexual behavior and sharing of intravenous needles and paraphernalia, and must do so as accurately and explicitly as possible while remaining appropriate to the age and developmental level of the members of targeted audiences, as well as their culture and language;


Therefore, be it resolved that the American Psychological Association supports the Surgeon General's Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (1986),

Be it further resolved that APA urges that information about AIDS, its transmission and prevention be incorporated into elementary and secondary school curricula in conjunction with educational programs concerning sexuality, drug use, health, and family issues; and that such education be provided at the earliest grade possible, and in a manner appropriate to the child's level of intellectual, emotional, and social development. Priority should be given to culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention and education efforts targeted at Black, Hispanic, and Native American youth. The development of such curricula and programs should be accomplished with all deliberate speed by local boards of education, working closely with parents.

Be it further resolved that APA recognizes the importance for AIDS prevention of providing clear and accurate information about sexual behaviors and sharing of needles and syringes, and that the APA deplores attempts by governmental or other institutions to restrict the effectiveness of community-based AIDS-prevention organizations, and

Be it further resolved that the APA urges increased funding from governmental and private sources for basic and applied research and evaluation relevant to AIDS education and risk reduction, and

Be it further resolved that the APA urges its members to provide their expertise to develop, implement, and evaluate AIDS education and risk-reduction programs.