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New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
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Thursday, February 8, 2001

Non-Fiction Review

EveryBody : Preventing HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Revised Edition by Deborah Schoeberlein
ISBN-10: 0967925614
Review by Heather Froeschl

How do you teach adolescents to save their own lives? How do you reach through the ideas they have about STDs and their own omnipotence? "EveryBody" is THE curriculum for students in grades 5-9, about HIV, AIDS and STD prevention. This is a powerful guide for teachers, counselors and parents to utilize in making a difference in, and more than likely saving, the lives of today's youth.

Communication, in the fight against HIV and other communicable diseases, is essential between child and adult, teacher and student, and all individuals dealing in possibly unsafe behaviors. How is communication learned? "EveryBody" opens the doors to communication. The activities, meticulously described, spark discussions and discussions encourage empowerment in the individual.

Many lessons are shared in "EveryBody": the specifics of STDs and prevention methods, the generalities of stereotypes, risk taking, reduction and elimination, and so much more. Students will come away with a better understanding of these topics and just as important, a better understanding of themselves.

Some adults may think that "EveryBody" goes beyond what is expected for a 5th-9th grade curriculum. However, "EveryBody" is developmentally appropriate and extensive research shows that is does indeed meet the needs of today's adolescents. Every year in the U.S., half of all new HIV infections occur among people under the age of 25. One in four of new infections occur among those between the ages of 13 and 20. Isn't it best to empower our youth before they become a statistic? The fact is that the majority of American adolescents are sexually active by 12th grade. This is life threatening behavior. Addressing the factors head on is the only way to prevent fatal mistakes.

The curriculum that "EveryBody" is, is not lecture and testing, but rather it is innovative and connected to scientific theory. Students act out the lessons and in essence, become the subject matter. For example, when marker ink, representing infectious bodily fluids, makes its way from student to student, they see point blank, how easily they can become infected, and learn how to prevent that from happening. A fairly simple exercise that will hit home and, in context, will get the message across that HIV prevention is a very serious matter.

The lessons are well written, comprehensive and easily comprehended. The curriculum is one that should be mandatory in all middle schools. Our youth need to learn responsibility for their health and as a parent, I would rather these lessons not be learned the hard way.