By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:
1. Describe what makes a person able to successfully practice abstinence, be faithful in a relationship and use condoms.
2. Assess the usefulness of the “ABC” approach as a way to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections in their own lives, and in the lives of young people overseas.
In recent years, the United States government has funded programs that support an “ABC”-based educational approach for HIV prevention, both domestically and in developing nations overseas. In this approach, “A” is for Abstain, “B” is for Be Faithful, and “C” is for Use Condoms. Like abstinence, the term be faithful may have an unclear meaning, or different meanings for different people. In addition, the linear message (i.e., “Be sure to practice A, but if you don’t, then practice B, with C as a last resort”) can leave people with considerable health risks. For example, a person who is practicing “be faithful,” while their partner is not, may acquire a sexually transmitted infection. Or, a couple that practices “being faithful” by having only vaginal intercourse without condoms or other contraceptives may face an unexpected pregnancy.
As these programs gain traction, “ABC” messages will impact on the lives of young people. This lesson gives them the opportunity to assess the meanings of such phrases in their own lives, and the attributes necessary to successfully follow each part of the message — abstaining, being faithful and using condoms.