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Montana HIV PREVENTION Peer Education Success – Let Your Voice Be Heard
Since 2005, an annual two-day October conference is offered to high school teams from throughout Montana with the purpose of developing and training youth knowledgeable in presenting HIV/AIDS prevention education to their peers. The students are trained in an HIV/AIDS “101” and many grade K-12 teaching strategies, lesson plans, and educational formats that focus on healthy choices, healthy habits, risk behaviors and consequences, bullying, acceptance and the message of “It’s not who you are but what you do.” The training is attended by 6-8 school teams; each team consists of an advisor and 4 students. The teams are required to complete an Action Plan which is usually carried out on World AIDS Day; teaching students in their school about HIV/AIDS. The HIV-funded program at the Montana Office of Public Instruction contracts with the school’s Peer Education mentors to provide further training to students at neighboring school districts. School board members and administrators are always very complimentary in their comments regarding the professionalism of these peer educators and the message they bring to their peers.