Teens Possibly Exposed to HIV at School
November 14, 2008
How would you react to hearing that as many as 50 people in your high school may have been exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS? It sounds like a really bad nightmare, but it’s the real deal for teens at Normandy High School in Normandy, MO. To find out if anyone has been exposed, students are being tested for HIV on a voluntary basis, one class at a time.
The school district doesn’t know who may have exposed the students to HIV or how it was transmitted. And the lack of information has some students scared. A 16-year-old sophomore said her boyfriend, who attends another school, broke up with her after hearing the news; a rival school’s football team didn’t want to play against Normandy; and some students even wanted to transfer out of the school district entirely!
These are all examples of the fear people have of HIV when they don’t have the facts about the virus and how it’s transmitted. HIV is spread through blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. And you can only be exposed to HIV through direct contact with those fluids through high-risk behaviors—like unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles. So unless you’ve engaged in these risky behaviors, there’s zero chance of getting infected.
There’s only one way to know if someone has HIV—getting tested. So if you decide to have sex, you and your partner should get tested and find out each other’s status. And if you have oral, anal or vaginal sex, use latex barriers, like condoms or Sheer Glyde dental dams. And remember: not having oral, anal or vaginal sex is the only way to guarantee you won’t get HIV from sex.