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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

CALIFORNIA: Lessons in Love, Tolerance: Students Partake in Fake Weddings, Games Stressing Sexual Health


San Francisco Chronicle (02.15.12) - Wednesday, February 15,

Hundreds of students took part in the Valentine's Day "Love Fest" Tuesday at San Francisco's Galileo High School. Sponsored by the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and the Wellness Center, the annual event seeks to promote tolerance at school and to encourage the youths to make safe decisions in their personal lives.

In one exercise, health teacher Raina Meyers put blurry goggles on students to simulate drunkenness, then had the teens put a condom on a wooden penis. Most of the students left air in the condom's tip, which can lead to breakage. "You're pregnant!" Meyers told a girl who flunked the test. "You have gonorrhea," she told a boy who applied the condom incorrectly.

At another table, teenage couples, most of them same-sex, lined up to get "married." "I think it encourages those who are afraid to walk around together," said English teacher Jacqueline Peters, who sponsors the GSA. "No one is going to freak out if two guys marry each other even if they're straight. At the event, nobody cares - at least for a day." Many students said they decided to attend after learning they would get extra credit. District officials acknowledged that some community members might be offended by the festival, but school officials said it highlights the importance of healthy relationships, regardless of who a student decides to be with.


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