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Lewes, Delaware
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March 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 27, 1998
 

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- CAPE Gl, March 27 - April 2, 1M8 Warriors Continued from page 40 other summit," Collins said. "The biggest result that we want to see is for them to go back to their communities with information that they can share with other kids." He said he worked with presen- ters, making them aware of the ages that they would work with and the goals of the summit. In addition to workshops, focus groups were scheduled to find out what young people need and want to know regarding health educa- tion and prevention programs. Collins said that there seemed to be a high comfort level at each age level and presenters aimed their information for the age. HIV/AIDS jeopardy After a low-key HIV/AIDS education workshop with 10- to 12-year-olds, health educator Jeanne Doe turned up the tempo for a group of 16- to 18-year-olds. Even though they came in absorbed in conversation among themselves, Doe quickly caught their attention with the HIV jeop- ardy-type game. Teenagers who started as cool and skeptical were soon waiting, leaning forward, hands on the bell, ready to reply with the appropriate answer. Or, in this case, question. There were six categories, including "Condoms," "Postponing Sexual Activities," "Delaware Statistics" and "People Living with AIDS." Each catego- ry had questions of ascending val- ue and it didn't take long for the teenagers to begin to use strategy to pile up the points as they com- peted. "Condoms for 200," Doe said, "People who wear condoms..." A hand hit a bell as soon as the words left Doe's mouth. "Practicing safe sex." "A question, please!" "What is practicing safe sex!" Doe continued, "Postponing Sexual Activity for 100, the only way to be 100 percent sure you are safe from HIV/AIDS." "What is abstinence!" As each proper question was given, Doe counted up the points and gave additional information. She is a certified HIV/AIDS edu- cator and the education director at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. Those in the workshop learned that not only is wearing a condom during sexual intercourse impor- tant, it should be a latex condom with only a water-based lubricant. They were told that petroleum- based lubricants can damage a condom. "And, never use whipped cream," Doe reminded them. "And remember, that guy or girl may be all cute on the outside, but you don't know what's inside. It's okay to be abstinent. "I love coming out here and leading these workshops. I love sharing information with you and answering your questions." Many of the answers were in' the form of questions, but there were no points to earn in the workshop on living with AIDS. Two young people, Lisa and Charles, both HIV-positive, shared their experiences of learn- ing that they were infected with the virus and how it affects their lives. Charles is a public policy administrator with the National Association of People with AIDS. He has been active in the AIDS education arena for almost 10 years. Lisa only learned that she was HIV-positive about three years ago. When the question was put to them by teenagers, both answered that-they were infected through practicing unprotected sex. Lisa is the mother of a healthy toddler, but her story included the drama of learning of her own infection while she was pregnant. When her companion .died of liver and heart failure, she did not know that these were complica- tions of his AIDS infection. "His family knew, but nobody told me until they knew that I was pregnant," she said. "Those were some bad times, having to tell my father, and waiting to know if my baby was HIV-positive," she said. Lisa said that she went numb when she learned that she was infected. She said once she knew, many things became clear to her regarding her companion's final illness, and she was very angry that neither he nor members of his family told her. "I wanted to dig him up and rekill him," she said. "I wanted to go to his mother's house and slap i00iiz 00rrrrr a Jeanne Doe facilitates the AIDS jeopardy game. her around, too. "I hope when I get to that point [of death], when I'm old and decrepit and my son is a college graduate, I'll have someone by my side like I was for him. But, they'll know what I'm going through. I would never keep that information from someone that I am in a relationship with, or even from a friend." As she talked, teenagers sat per- fectly still and silent and then shook their heads in sympathy. Learning and sharing Since their infection, Lisa and Charles have both learned a lot about the AIDS virus and facing life as HIV-positive individuals. They talked of T-cell counts and viral load and opportunist infec- tions. Lisa knows that a baby can be born HIV-positive and grow to be negative. She told teenagers that no one knows what deter- mines if a baby is infected with AIDS or is not. Before asking for final ques- tions, Charles reminded the teenagers, "There is a message here. Protect yourself, we don't want you to be the ones up here. You have information today, pro- tect yourself. We have goals, wishes, desires, but we live with the complication of AIDS every day. "If you are negative, stay that way. If you are not indulging in sex, don't. Magic Johnson is not cured; there is no cure now." Collins said that participants provided valuable feedback with evaluation forms that they filled out after each session. He said that the indication is that the informa- tion is traveling back to home communities. He said, "Some of the com- ments we got are 'This will help me talk to my friends about HIV/AIDS.' and 'This is what I needed to hear from actual people who experience life with AIDS.' "Other kids commented that they will tell their friends of some of the information they got about prevention of AIDS and other STDs. I think that the message is going out. "But there are still frightening the pubhc to attend special Lenten Healing Services on Sunday evenings March 15 . March 22 March 29 at 7:30 p.m. James 5:14-15 - "Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anionting them with oil in the name of the Lord." 133 Kings Highway in Lewes Nursery services provided Parking in rear off of Franklin Avenue statistics out there. AIDS deaths are down nationwide, but the inci- dence of HIWAIDS is up among African-American females. And, half of all the new infections occur in people who are younger than 25." The Delaware State Police Community Policing Unit also participated in the summit; other workshop topics included "Teen Pregnancy," Self-Esteem" and "Conflict Resolution." For information on programs provided by Children & Families First KSAP, call 856-2388. 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