Published January, 2013

The Role of Public Schools in HIV Prevention: Perspectives from African Americans in the Rural South, Stacy W. Lloyd, et al., AIDS Education and Prevention (2012)

This community-based participatory research study explores African American youth and adult perspectives on sex education and its impact on HIV/AIDS in their rural North Carolina communities. Despite potential bias, both youth and adult participants consistently point to abstinence-until-marriage sex education policies as barriers to youth sexual health and HIV prevention in their communities. Some participants believe the shift from comprehensive sex education to abstinence-until-marriage policy in public schools contributes to increased incidence of HIV/AIDS. The study identifies political opposition, teachers' fears of inadvertently violating sex educa- tion policies, parents withholding consent for sex education, lack of comprehensive sex education advocacy efforts by local residents, and fiscal concerns as key barriers to implementing a comprehensive sex education policy in public schools. While the results may not be generalizable, this study adds to the literature supporting public schools as a critical point of intervention for HIV prevention, especially for southern rural communities in the United States.