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WOODLAND HILLS : School Focuses Assemblies on AIDS Dangers

October 27, 1994|MAKI BECKER

In bygone years a high school homecoming dance was viewed as a fairly innocent rite of passage for students. But in the 1990s, it's an occasion that brings up a life and death issue.

The Parents, Teachers and Students Assn. at El Camino Real High School sponsored assemblies Tuesday and Wednesday to educate students about the dangers of HIV infection and AIDS. Each program included presentations by the Valley Teen Clinic, a talk by an HIV-positive man and a display of eight panels from the AIDS quilt.

Using street language in a series of skits, representatives from the youth clinic portrayed the virus as a member of the "Homies In Venice" gang being interviewed on the show "A Current Bodily Affair."

"To relate to a juvenile, you must be one," said Demetrius Navarro, one of the performers. "You just can't speak at them, you have to speak to them."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 3, 1994 Valley Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 5 Zones Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
AIDS program: An Oct. 27 story in The Times about an AIDS awareness program at El Camino Real High School erroneously identified Bob Ames, a participant, as being HIV-positive. Ames does not have the virus.

The presentation included a discussion on how to use condoms, but stressed abstinence from sex.

"We tell them it's OK to be abstinent, that it's not a bad thing. And abstinence does not mean being a virgin," said Theresa Covello, also a performer. "You can say no whenever you want."

Also emphasizing safe sex practices was Bob Ames, who has been HIV-positive for 13 years. "I'm sick and tired of burying young people," said Ames at one of the assemblies, explaining that he has a 14-year old friend who had sex only once and is now dying from AIDS-related illnesses.

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