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No Politics in AIDS Education

August 30, 1987

There is no cure for AIDS. Until there is, prevention through information and education is vital to everyone who is sexually active.

The state Legislature is in the process of approving legislation that will provide junior and senior high-school students with a frank educational film explanation about the sexual transmission of AIDS. It is estimated that about 50% of these teen-agers are sexually active. A few are intravenous drug users. Most know something about AIDS, but all have the optimism and naivete of youth.

State Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced a widely supported bill that calls for AIDS education films that would explain the disease, its dangers and its prevention to these young people. The films, to be selected by state Supt. of Public Instruction Bill Honig and state Health Director Kenneth Kizer, would stress abstinence as the primary means of AIDS prevention. Parents would be notified before the showing of the films, and would be allowed to refuse their children's participation. The measure will no doubt be passed by the Legislature.

Gov. George Deukmejian has already announced his opposition to the bill, on the ground that the films should be chosen by the state Board of Education, not the state superintendent of public instruction and the state health director.

AIDS education is far too important to be subjected to political maneuvering. This bill would provide lifesaving information to young people who must be forewarned of the consequences of their behavior. Everyone, regardless of age, who is sexually active is a potential victim of the disease.

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