- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 17, 2013

Remember Ryan White?

Diagnosed with hemophilia as a newborn in December 1971, Ryan underwent blood transfusions to stay alive and 13 years later learned he had contracted HIV from contaminated blood.

A valiant warrior, Ryan died in 1990 — but not before he made us think, rethink and then think again about what was mistakenly dubbed the “gay men’s” disease.

We could not save Ryan but we can and must save the children.

With children like Ryan being infected with the HIV virus because of ignorance and promiscuity, it’s high time we re-educate ourselves and sit down with our young children and young adults to have “the talk” — about the birds, bees and abstinence.

We’ve handed off “the talk” to public schools, and they have muddied the message.

While schools pump up the volume on teaching gender identity, making condoms easily accessible and continuing to bow to special interests’ pressure to teach “safe sex,” our young people are teetering in the shadow of death.

According to a report released a year ago, just before World AIDS Day, 13- to 24-year olds in the U.S. make up more than a quarter of new HIV infections annually.

And more than half of those youth are unaware they are HIV-positive, the report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

To know a child is ill, as was the case with baby Ryan, is one thing. You take action, and do what you can to make your child healthier and keep risky behavior at bay.

What are we doing?

We are shirking our responsibility.

Instead of having the conversations with our children, we are allowing our children to learn about sex, sexual behavior and sexual identity in a school house, which is risky in and of itself because we should be our children’s primary messengers and the messages rest in our hearts and hands.

And yet again, after cutting out health education during Ryan’s lifetime and replacing it with sex education, we are being encouraged to turn our backs on our children.

An annual report released last week by D.C. Appleseed on HIV/AIDS practices and policies in the District gave the city an A in condom distribution; for education, traditional public schools got a B+ while public charter schools got a C.

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