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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Up to 50 teens exposed to HIV, high school told...

    Midwest high school copes with HIV scare


    • Infected person tells health officials as many as 50 teens might have been exposed
    • Normandy High School in St. Louis, Missouri, consults national AIDS groups
    • Students being tested for HIV at six stations in the high school gymnasium
    • Fallout: Sports rival initially balks at playing team; relationships strained


    NORMANDY, Missouri (AP) -- Students at a suburban St. Louis high school headed to the gymnasium for HIV testing this week after an infected person told health officials as many as 50 teenagers might have been exposed to the virus that causes AIDS.

    Officials refused to give details on who the person was or how the students at Normandy High School might have been exposed, but the district is consulting with national AIDS organizations as it tries to minimize the fallout and prevent the infection -- and misinformation -- from spreading.

    "There's potential for stigma for all students regardless of whether they're positive or negative," Normandy School District spokesman Doug Hochstedler said Thursday. "The board wants to be sure all children are fully educated."

    A teacher in a neighboring district singled out a girl who dates someone at Normandy High and instructed her to get tested, Hochstedler said. A competing school's football team initially balked at playing Normandy's 8-0 team.

    Jasmine Lane, a 16-year-old sophomore, said her boyfriend from a neighboring high school broke up with her on learning of the news -- after she bought them tickets to homecoming.

    "I cried so hard," she said.

    Hochstedler said that as far as he knows, no other district has had to handle a similar situation. Students at the school of 1,300 are being tested, and the district is getting advice on the best ways to support kids in crisis.

    Sophomore Tevin Baldwin said that many of his classmates in this working-class city of about 5,000 residents want to transfer out of the district, which encompasses other towns.

    "Nobody knows what's going on," he said. The district declined to respond to his assertion.

    Marcus Holman, a 14-year-old freshman, said he never imagined HIV would become such a widespread threat at school.

    "I'm just trying to pass, get to the next grade, safely," he said.

    Normandy Superintendent Stanton Lawrence agreed that students remain focused on learning, despite concerns and distraction. There's no hysteria or panic, and school is running routinely, he said.

    "They recognize this situation is what it is, and doesn't mean school is over," he said. "Their concern is heightened, but we have to face it and do the responsible thing."

    The St. Louis County Health Department said last week that a positive HIV test raised concern that students at Normandy might have been exposed. The department is not saying whether the infected person was a student or connected with the school, only that the person indicated as many as 50 students may have been exposed.

    The Health Department also will not say how any exposure might have occurred. Health Department spokesman Craig LeFebvre has said the possibilities include sexual activity, intravenous drug use, piercings and tattoos.

    Hochstedler said the district doesn't know the person's identity, or even whether he or she is a student.

    "We do know there was some potential exposure between that person and students," he said. "We don't know the individual or the route of transmission."

    The district learned Oct. 9 of the potential exposure and within a business day worked out with the Health Department how to release the information and handle HIV testing, he said.

    "They took a very proactive stance," he said. "There's no precedent for this."

    Students are being tested at six stations in the high school gymnasium, one class at a time. Only representatives from the Health Department are with the students, who are offered educational materials and a chance to ask questions before they are given an opportunity to be tested with a mouth swab, Hochstedler said. They may decline.

    They exit through a separate door, and no one in the school would know who did or did not get tested.

    "It's entirely up to the student," he said. "There's a lot of stigma associated with this."

    The district will never know whether or how many of its students tested positive, he said.

    "Once they're tested," he said, "it's an issue between the department and the child and his family."

    So far, the district has met twice with parents and begun to ask ministers in the community to stress the importance of responsible behavior, Lawrence said.

    Students in grades four through 12 already take classes that discuss the consequences of risky behavior, including HIV, he said.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk
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    **sigh**
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    Was someone just running around fucking everybody, or what? What a crazy world.

    There was a woman in a community not far from my hometown of Benson, MN who had gotten HIV. Of course they start asking someone who they had slept with, and she started naming names. Quite a few of the fellas were married. OOPS!!!
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

  4. #4
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Why are they not more forthcoming with the information on how they think it has been spread? It would go a long way towards eliminating the misinformation, rumors, etc and would allow people a better understanding of what happened. When people don't have facts, they start making them up. It seems a bit ridiculous in this day and age and our understanding of HIV.
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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    Oh, probably because any sort of mention of method will cause problems. They also might not know. It sounds as though the school doesn't know and the health department can't comment.

    One can think of any number of reasons why stating a method of transmission would be a bad idea. Gosh, the kids won't stop fucking without condoms. Hey, we've got a lot of drug users. Psst... it was a gay thing. Don't touch the toilet seats. A lunch lady cut herself last Wednesday and got blood in the ketchup. Some of those are pretty stupid, right? And the ones that are left carry a stigma. Why not let people speculate, rather than assign a specific stigma to any of the kids that were tested?

    Sure, somebody will say "but not disclosing the cause will put children at risk!" That's stupid. There aren't that many ways in which HIV is transmitted. Tell everyone how to avoid it, and guess what? You eliminate a lot of risky behavior. If they're as scared as the story says, you'll eliminate all risky behavior.

    And nobody will get labeled, blamed, or ostracized due to the administration. Sure, the kids probably know what was going on, but let that be on them.

  6. #6
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 08:59 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by loveevhsince79 View Post
    Why are they not more forthcoming with the information on how they think it has been spread? It would go a long way towards eliminating the misinformation, rumors, etc and would allow people a better understanding of what happened. When people don't have facts, they start making them up. It seems a bit ridiculous in this day and age and our understanding of HIV.
    HIPPA...it says the person reported this to a health official.

    You cannot legally disclose the person's name, so they just have to go through the list of contacts that person gave them, they through the lists of contacts that those people gave them and no one gets identified publicly.

    but the system breaks down if someone doesn't fess up to everyone they were with.

    scary shit to deal with in high school...it's a whole 'nuther world out there now

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    This is all over the news here. Maybe I'm just an asshole, but I thought the part about the guy breaking up with the girl from that school when he found out---after buying tickets to homecoming---was pretty funny. You know what he was thinking

    The funniest part is there is an argument about how to test. If they do voluntary tests, no one wants to have their kid get tested, because we all know what that means. But for privacy reasons, some people do not want mandatory tests.

    I expect the homecoming dance will have a lot of people "leaving room for the Holy Spirit."

    The best way to ensure safe sex (or none at all) is to have an HIV scare around homecoming time.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    The best way to ensure safe sex (or none at all) is to have an HIV scare around homecoming time.

    ...or Prom time.
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  9. #9
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    HIPPA...it says the person reported this to a health official.

    You cannot legally disclose the person's name, so they just have to go through the list of contacts that person gave them, they through the lists of contacts that those people gave them and no one gets identified publicly.

    but the system breaks down if someone doesn't fess up to everyone they were with.

    scary shit to deal with in high school...it's a whole 'nuther world out there now
    I would be fine with them not releasing the names but it would seem that they could be a bit more honest about the way in which it has spread. Mike is right, there are only a few different ways in which it is spread but I think it would be more of an eye opener for the teenagers to realize they are not invincible. Parents can educate and warn till they are blue in the face however, it's the real life experiences that teach the most meaningful lessons. Education and open discussions would go a long way to eliminating the disinformation and manufacturing of theories/rumors.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

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  10. #10
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    The unknown is a lot scarier than the known. If they point the finger at Suzi, kids would be likely to think they're not anything like that particular little slut--I mean, Jim said she'd been with half the football team just last week.

    From a standpoint of making people think about their behaviors and risks, not mentioning a source is probably the best way to accomplish that.

 

 

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