From School to Community: Hepatitis C Stigma and Health Education in Rural Schools
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In Texas, abstinence only programs are the primary method of sex education in public schools. Based on the School Health Advisory Council, volunteers from the community help in determining what is discussed in health and sex education. In rural conservative communities, religious morals determine how sex education is taught in public schools. Without proper knowledge and open discussion about sex and viral infections like Hepatitis C, stigma determines negative opinions around these two topics. After interviewing sixteen parents, teachers and school administrators, I found that religion, abstinence only, the preferred class in schools, consent for birth control, and the lack of information for Hepatitis C and SHAC affects what is allowed to be taught in rural Texas public schools. The result of an abstinence only sex education in rural schools is outdated classroom material, no discussion of options for birth control or unplanned pregnancies, and believing birth control is the gateway to immoral sexual intercourse.