Mid-term report card
Surveying elementary school students and teachers
about HIV and AIDS
by Isaac Harvey
recently did a survey of grade seven q One thing I found interesting was
students and schoolteachers at that on true/false question 3 (“HIV
Franklin Elementary School in is the same as AIDS”), on average
Vancouver. I wanted to do this project in all demographics one-quarter to
because I thought it would be a neat thing one-third of the survey respondents
to do and I thought I would get some thought that HIV is the same as
interesting results showing differences AIDS (incorrect answer).
between teacher/student responses and q In the surveys completed by
between male/female participants’ teachers, I found it interesting
responses. The survey showed that that one male teacher thought
knowledge of HIV is fairly good for that HIV could be transmitted
students and teachers of both sexes. through kissing (incorrect). But in
I administered the survey by distrib- the true/false section, all of the
uting a questionnaire to students and male teachers answered every
teachers to complete in private and question accurately. Also, there
return to me. The research period took was an uneven split in the female
place from October 15 – 25, 2006, and teacher demographic on true/false
the survey consisted of seven true/false question 5: three female teachers
and four multiple-choice questions that said that HIV could pass through
I wrote after researching similar types latex condoms (incorrect), and
of questionnaires on the Internet. (See five said it couldn’t (correct).
page 35 for a copy of the survey.) q Students, both male and female,
I had to get permission from the had similar answers to the
school principal and from parents of questions. For example, among
students who took the survey. Franklin One male teacher thought that HIV male students on multiple-choice
Elementary has a total of 17 teachers question 4 (“A mark of disgrace
(four male and 13 female). In the
could be transmitted through kissing. or discredit is referred to as…”),
seventh grade, there are 23 students (15 there was a split down the middle in
boys and eight girls). In total, 12 teachers (four male and eight terms of responses: three on one side choosing answer a) “enigma”
female) and 11 grade seven students (six male and five female) (incorrect), and three on the other side choosing answer b) “stigma”
participated in this research. Although almost all of the teachers (correct). The results were almost the same with female students,
took part, I was surprised by how few students participated. except for the fact that there were only five female students who
Some students didn’t do the survey because they did not ask did the survey. Three female students answered this question
their parents to sign the permission form, or their parents incorrectly and two gave the correct answer.
would not sign the form. Other students said they didn’t want I was surprised by the similarity of answers in the different
to participate because they didn’t know much about HIV, or demographics. I thought there were going to be some major
they were worried they might get the answers wrong. differences between teachers and students, but there weren’t,
At the end of the research period, I collected the surveys which indicates that both seem to have a fairly good grasp on the
and entered responses onto a spreadsheet so that I could issues. Even though my survey was among a small group, I found
analyze the data. I was looking for any patterns in answers by this project a neat way to find out what teachers and students
either teachers or students, or by male or female participants know and don’t know about HIV and AIDS. 5
(teachers and students together).
Here are some of the results from my research:
q In true/false question 1 and 2 all respondents gave the Isaac Harvey is a grade seven student at Franklin
same answer, except for one female student who responded Elementary School in Vancouver and a BCPWA
differently to each question. Society Communications Department volunteer.
14 living 5 JanuaryqFeburary 2007
Get regular BMD and hormone level testing The authors of the study seemed reluctant to recommend
This suggests the wisdom of regular testing of sex hormone levels any changes in patient management but we seem to be ahead
and bone mass density after the age of 50—or earlier, if you have a of the curve—once again—in HIV. 5
family history of osteoporosis or you’re highly drug experienced.
You might want to ask your doctor to refer you to an endocrinologist
for assessment. (Your chances of finding a good endocrinologist
are better if you live in a major urban area.) The good news is that Ron Rosenes is a board member of AIDS Action
you can prevent future fractures if the assessment shows you’re at Now!, co-chair of the Community Network
risk. For example, a diagnosis of osteopenia means that you have Advisory Committee of the Ontario HIV Treatment
early stage osteoporosis and therapy with a bisphosphonate may Network, and was a founding board member of
be worth considering. Additionally, eating foods rich in calcium— AIDS2006 Toronto Local Host.
like milk and green leafy vegetables—can help strengthen your
bones, along with weight-bearing exercise. Any docs who are treating males?
If your levels of testosterone are low, you might want to discuss We’re not aware of any doctors addressing estradiol deficiency
with your doctor the various ways in which you can supplement with with their male patients, but if you know of any doctors who are,
creams, gel, and injections. There are, of course, the added potential we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
benefits of increased energy and libido, and relief from depression.
JanuaryqFebruary 2007 living 5 35