Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) appear to be the topic that has caught my attention. While young adults are taught about abstinence, not enough has been done to empower them with issues regarding their sexuality when they eventually decide to engage in sexual activities. At school, health care educators emphasize on abstinence, but they forget that after finishing school, these young adults will become sexually active and they will go through experiences that need psychological preparation. They need to be aware of what it really means to be sexually active, and this is not just about unwanted pregnancies, but also other possible consequences of engaging in sexual activities. While at school, mostly before college, we tend to assume that all students are embracing a policy of abstinence. It is why most of the school curricula do not allow comprehensive sex education on safe sex measures. They focus on abstinence as the only option for being safe and healthy making it hard for the young adults to obtain relevant and correct information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Being aware of the risks involved in unprotected sexual encounters, as well as learning about the possible preventive measures will ensure that young people are empowered on issues pertaining to their sexual health.
Young adults will be targeted for this course, mostly 15 - 24 years old students of high schools and colleges. These are the ones who are most likely to start engaging in sexual activities, especially because they have started experiencing adulthood outside the confinements of the high school abstinence doctrine. This group of young adults is at a high risk of contracting STIs due to the lack of adequate information on matters pertaining to their sex lives.
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Most of the parents have not yet given in to the idea of having their children taught about sex education in schools, and that is precisely why the issue is still being debated around the country. While the parents would like their children to grow into responsible adults, they try hard to protect them from reality for as long as they can. Now, being out of high school and awaiting college, these kids need to know what to expect and how to be safe at all times. It can only be done by providing them with correct and relevant information that includes sexual transmitted infections (STIs). Providing this information and being able to identify youth friendly health centers, to which the targeted youths can be referred, is a vital step in ensuring a healthier tomorrow for today’s young adults. Other than dealing with other pressures of life as a young adult, they also have to deal with myths and misconceptions about sex, and serious peer pressure. Knowing the facts is a good defense in their case needed for this course. Teaching our children about sex is vital for a healthy tomorrow, and it can be realized through this comprehensive course.
There are a number of objectives for offering this course. First, most of the young adults engage in sexual activities even before they are in their final year of high school. It means that they are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases while still in school but they can’t freely obtain information or relevant help. This course will ensure that they get the information and support that they need as soon as they get out of the system. Secondly, information is power. Those who are against comprehensive sex education in schools argue that the knowledge provided will encourage the children to engage in sexual activities. Though, giving this information to a young adult on his/her way out of high school or waiting to go to college will ensure that they are protected from a destructive ignorance that is frequently confused for innocence. Being aware is always a good thing and there is need for people to understand that simple principle of life. Thirdly, just talking to teenagers about safe sex and condom use is not enough. They need to know how to properly use condoms. It can be done through both theoretical instructions and demonstrations using specific models. Lastly, we focus so much attention to teenage pregnancies and emphasize on use of contraceptives among the sexually active teenagers. However, we forget that other than pregnancy, sex has other consequences too and some even worse than a teenage pregnancy. Providing information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) will ensure that those who suffer from them are taken care of without feeling discriminated. The course will include referrals to youth friendly health centers.
There are numerous expected outcomes of this course. Empowering young adults with relevant information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) will ensure that they do not suffer the consequences of ignorance. Not knowing what to do or how to identify the signs of an STI can cause a young man his entire manhood. It is because most of the STIs if not treated early enough can lead to impotence among other serious life altering consequences such as stroke and cancer. By giving them the right information on modes of transmission, preventive measures and referrals for treatment in case of an infection, young adults will be able to take control of their sex lives in order to ensure good health and a bright future.
The information will also enable them to avoid putting themselves at risk of infection. It means that more and more teenagers and young adults will be able to stick to safe sex as a preventive measure against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As a result, the prevalence of HIV and other STIs is expected to go down together with that of teenage pregnancy since most young adults will be using condoms as their choice mode of staying safe.
From these lessons, young adults will learn how to talk freely about their sexuality. They will learn how to be open and honest about their experiences and thus, they will be able to share and guide their peers who may go through the same. It will provide information that will help to do away with ignorance and stigma reducing the cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young adults. It will provide society with information on how all sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are detected and treated before they do any damage to young adults’ sexuality. Thus it will lead to a healthier and possibly wealthier tomorrow.
The learning technique applied will be team-based learning whereby teams are formed and maintained through the course in order to enhance the learning abilities of each individual student. These students, who should preferably come from different backgrounds, are expected to take up homework or extra reading individually but share with their team members while in the class. The main purpose of using this technique is to ensure that all young adults actively participate in this course to maximize the intake of useful information that is being passed on. The students will be required to take tests both individually and in teams. These students will score points for team work, and team maintenance will be awarded for member participation. Most of the class exercises will include group discussions and presentations to facilitate exchange of ideas among the students. The role of the instructor or teacher, in this case, will be to moderate the topics of discussion, and to clarify information that is not clear enough. The students will be required to do a lot of reading outside the classroom in order to make a good presentation. It will make them more interested in the classes since their active participation will always be required.
Talking about sexual health with young adults is very important yet not easy even for experienced parents. Being aware of the risk factors, particularly for young adults, is important. Students should be given the opportunity to work and interact with the material. Teenagers would be more receptive to hear this information from their peers through group discussions and presentations than their health care educators or parents and guardians. In a relaxed and friendly environment, students will be able to identify the situations that are being discussed. Their peers who have been in those situations socializing about the topic will consequently give them the confidence to seek the help of a concerned adult and possibly a referral to a youth friendly health center, if the case requires medical advice and attention. Adapting new skills are important in fulfilling the role of a nurse or sexual health professional. Thus, young adults can develop the confidence identifying issues that affect their sexual health and seek medical advice and attention whenever they are infected, not to mention taking preventive measures whenever they engage in sexual activities.
This course will give students the opportunity to process the provided information and apply it in his/her lifestyle. He/she will be able to share his/her thoughts and feelings on the issues covered, and also be taught how to react to certain sexual situations, for example, how to negotiate for safe sex and how to identify a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The framework for designing and organizing the assessment and evaluation plan for this course is the “constructivist assessment,” where the process of gaining knowledge is just as important as the outcome of gaining the knowledge. It means that the performance or importance of the course is not only based on test results, but also on the students’ point of view and general work. This assessment is carried out through various means.
- ORAL DISCUSSIONS
Through carrying out oral class discussions, the knowledge of the students can be determined by observing how they react to the issues being discussed. It means that rather than testing the students individually, one is able to find out how much they know and are confident enough to share with their peers. This model of evaluation provides for practicality and thus, it is relevant for this topic. It is because the young adults need to be bold enough to talk about matters pertaining to their sexual health in order to seek help and even enlighten others.
- CHARTS ON STUDENT PROGRESS
The teacher keeps a chart on each student finding out what they have learnt, what they need to learn, and how they have learnt. It is a really effective way of finding out how much the student is interested in the course, and what impact it has on his/her life as an individual. In this case, through this charts one can easily tell how much the young adult would like to know about sexually transmitted Infections (STIs), and how the knowledge has impacted his/her life and sexuality.
- MIND MAPPING
The teacher is expected to find out how much the students know by asking them to list the ideas they have on the topic. In this case, they can list sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and categorize them as bacterial, viral, fungal, and any other. They can then be asked to list their signs and symptoms in order to find out if they can identify the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by themselves. Another activity that can be undertaken by the students includes preventive measures that can be used against STIs.
- PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES
As young adults, the students can be taken to a youth friendly health care service provider to examine the medical reports of people diagnosed with various STIs, and then, compile their own reports based on what they know. It would require a lot of time and commitment, but the students will be able to interact with health care providers and even gain more knowledge from the medical reports.
The students will be required to do demonstrations on effective/correct condom use at the health centre since they can easily find the required resources there.
- TESTING BEFORE AND AFTER A TOPIC
In order to evaluate the interest of the students, the teacher will be required to test them before each topic. It is in order to find out how much they know and how far ahead they have read. Students who are interested in the course always try to read ahead. Also, after each topic, the students are expected to learn something new. It is to ensure that in case of any weaknesses, the health care educators are able to identify and help out. It ensures that all students move at a relatively average pace, thus, no one knows less than he/she is supposed to. It ensures that the students pay attention and ask whenever they are not comfortable with a particular topic.
- EVENTUAL STATISTICS
After the course is introduced, statistics on STIs among young adults can be obtained through relevant research. Since they will have been empowered by the knowledge received, the number of new infections and would dropped. The number of young adults engaging in safe sexual activities will increase, and eventually, It will mean that the course was not only effective, but also sustainable due to its success.
A realistic plan is one that is time bound. This evaluation plan is realistic simply because all the required components are easily attainable. Most of the knowledge acquired will be able to manifest itself not only in class during group discussions and written tests, but also through the statistics, once a research is done. While the obtained statistics might not bring out the exact picture of what is happening on the ground, it will give a good indication of whether the peer discussions were effective. This assessment is much more realistic because it allows some time for the students to implement what they have learnt in their own habits before passing it to their friends and peers. It means that the assessment will cover all aspects that require coverage. With the future of the nation in mind, health educators can make a lot of difference by adopting this course.
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