1. Consider the current federal strategy for HIV and AIDS prevention required of programs that want to receive funding from the U.S. government, both in the U.S. and in developing nations overseas.
2. Describe what makes a person able to successfully practice abstinence, be faithful in a relationship, and use condoms.
3. 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.
The United States government is increasingly funding programs that support an “ABC” educational approach for HIV prevention, both in the U.S. 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.
Nevertheless, to the degree that funding for these programs increases, “ABC” messages will increasingly 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.
Note: Educator may wish to precede or follow up this lesson with their favorite STI/HIV prevention lesson.