District of Columbia:

Adolescent AIDS Prevention Program

HEHS-00-194R: Published: Sep 20, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the District of Columbia's (D.C.) Adolescent Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Prevention Program, focusing on: (1) statistics on the specific schools that are participating in this program; (2) how the schools were selected to participate in the program; (3) the source and amount of funding identified in the D.C. government budget; (4) statistics on sexually transmitted diseases, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS, and pregnancies among D.C. public school students; (5) the policies that govern the distribution of all forms of contraception devices to students in the D.C. Public Schools; and (6) information on policies governing sex education in the D.C. Public Schools.

GAO noted that: (1) the Adolescent AIDS Prevention Program is administered by school nurses in all 17 of the District's operating public senior high schools, at the discretion of the Mayor, the D.C. Public Schools Superintendent, and the D.C. Health and Hospitals Public Benefit Corporation; (2) although the program is not a separate item in the D.C. budget, a D.C. Department of Health official reported that the condoms distributed by school nurses in the 1999-2000 school year cost $2,625 and were purchased through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; (3) information on the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS among D.C. public high school students is not available; (4) however, there were 1,862 reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (about 55 per 1,000 teenagers) and fewer than 5 newly reported AIDS cases among all D.C. teenagers in 1999; (5) for the 1998-1999 school year, school nurses were aware of and monitoring 249 student pregnancies among all D.C. public school students; (6) the D.C. Health and Hospitals Public Benefit Corporation sets the policies governing the program, which allows condoms to be distributed only through school nurses and only after a student has specifically requested them; (7) no other forms of contraception may be distributed in the D.C. Public Schools; and (8) the D.C. City Council established regulations that require the D.C. Public Schools to: (a) teach age-appropriate sex education as part of the regular curriculum; (b) submit a list of all textbooks to be used for sex education to the D.C. Board of Education annually for approval; (c) notify parents or guardians in writing before sex education is taught; and (d) make all instructional materials available for inspection by parents or guardians of students receiving sex education.

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