School Counsellor's Roles in Preventing the Spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria and US

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Olusakin, A.M
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The Department of History, Geography, and Political Science Tennessee State University Nashville, Tennessee
The impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) on school children all over the world is very severe. About 15 million children have lost one or both parents due to the disease. Over the past 30 years, more than 25 million people have died from HIV/AIDS which causes debilitating illness and premature death in people during their prime years of life and has devastated families and communities. Further, HIV/AIDS has complicated efforts to fight poverty, improve health, and promote development. In 2008, about 430,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV and about 280,000 died of AIDS. Over 90 percent of people with HIV are living in the developing world. Counselling is both a science and an art. It is a science because to offer counsel, advice or assistance, the counsellor must have the knowledge of the basic principles and techniques of counselling. The counsellor must know the art of counselling because it is not just enough to know the basic principles and techniques but the counsellor must know how to actually apply them for effective counselling to address both the physical as well as the emotional dimensions. The American School Counsellor Association (ASCA)’s position is for professional Counsellor to focus on HIV/AIDS as a disease and not as a moral issue. The professional school counsellor’s role is to provide counselling, support and collaboration with school health personnel to provide HIV/AIDS educational programs for students, staff, and parents with the curriculum developed in conjunction with groups associated with the school and officially approved by the board of education. Professional school counsellors collaborate with others to promote healthy living and confront issues threatening human lives. They encourage the development of policies supporting good health, and they provide leadership to the school by assisting in the design and implementation of school wide HIV/AIDS prevention activities and programs. The professional school counsellor includes HIV/AIDS prevention programs as a part of the comprehensive school counselling program and ensures that HIV/AIDS prevention programs include training in decision-making skills; recognition of early signs of HIV; prevention/intervention services; community support and parent education. Relevant information concerning HIV/AIDS and any related complications is vital to all. The professional school counsellor is familiar with available resources to assist students and families dealing with HIV/AIDS issues. Specific areas may include general information about HIV/AIDS, including knowledge of the behaviour choices that make people to be at risk concerning HIV/AIDS, how HIV/AIDS transmission occurs, HIV/AIDS-related civil rights issues, universal health precautions and accurate information dispelling myths about HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS counselling program includes information for students, staff and parents promoting concepts of healthy living and responsibility to self, family and society. HIV positive people who are counseled are better equipped to decide if they will let people know about their HIV status, and better equipped to challenge discrimination.Counselling HIV positive people including the discussion of safer sex and methods of safe injecting helps in preventing the transmission of the HIV virus. HIV positive people need to know that they have an obligation to prevent the transmission of the virus to other people.
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School Counsellors , Roles , Preventing , HIV and AIDS , Nigeria , US , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education
Olusakin, A.M. (2012). School Counsellor's Roles in Preventing the Spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria and US Paper presented at the Conference on U.S. Foreign Policy & Africa Organised by The Department of History, Geography, and Political Science Tennessee State University Nashville, Tennessee.