WASHINGTON — Students in Virginia’s Fairfax County School District will be taught about PrEP, joining Maryland’s Montgomery County School District after the school board voted last week to approve the lessons, the Washington Post reports. No time frame for implementation of the lessons was given.
PrEP, the daily drug that has been lauded for its effective ability to block HIV transmission, will be part of the district’s family life education curriculum, which includes lessons on sex. Although not exclusive to gays, PrEP is most widely prescribed and used among gay and bi men.
Its inclusion was vigorously opposed at a recent board meeting the Post said “devolved frequently into jeers.”
The curriculum change appears in lessons that teach students about preventing and treating sexually transmitted infections. In addition to abstinence, which is already taught, students will learn that PrEP and condoms can help prevent transmission of the virus, the Post reports.
An advisory committee was directed by the school board to review the Fairfax family life education curriculum and to compare it with state standards. The advisory panel recommended that the school district include information about PrEP at all high school grade levels, the Post reports.
Robert Rigby, president of FCPS Pride, an employee group that advocates for the district’s LGBT students and workers, said informing students about the drug is vital.
“It’s a terrific tool in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” he said, according to the Post article. “For our individual student who might be at risk at some point in their lives, it’s something they need to know about.”
Opposition voiced included concerns that PrEP may cause kidney and bone damage, parent Hope Wojciech, a Fairfax resident, said, according to the Post.
About 830 comments were received opposing the change, the Post reports.