Continuing the Discussion - Plan B, STD’s, HIV and Women’s Health
imp_62 brought up a concern both he and his wife have about STD/HIV education and the lack of contraception use (condoms) in a previous Pages Post of mine. This concern was a result of their discussion of the recent ruling to require a prescription for “The Day-After Pill” Plan B to women under the age of 17.
It is a valid and important concern. I thought it needed to be addressed separately from the Contraception/Abortion issue.
The Federal Government has not been lax in addressing the issue:
The mission of the Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to provide national leadership, research, policy development, and scientific information to help people live safer, healthier lives by the prevention of STDs and their complications. This mission is accomplished by assisting health departments, healthcare providers and non-government organizations (NGO) through the provision of timely science-based information and by clearly interpreting such information to the general public and policy makers. The Division’s specific disease prevention goals are contextualized within the broader framework of the social determinants of health, the promotion of sexual health, and the primary prevention of sexually transmitted disease.
The CDC program is complete with brochures, regional centers, DVD’s, and on-line training. It seems to be geared towards Public Health Workers.
Their Adolescent and Health Outreach program seems comprehensive and well thought out:
By the time young people graduate from high school, almost two thirds have had sex. Nearly 40 percent of sexually active students did not use a condom the last time they had sex, and one in five drank alcohol or took drugs before their last sexual intercourse.
Such risky sexual behaviors can have serious health consequences:
Approximately 18 percent of all new HIV diagnoses are among young people aged 13–24 years.*
Teens and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any age group.
Three in 10 young women become pregnant before they reach the age of 20.
Helping adolescents make healthy choices requires the involvement of families, communities, and many other sectors of society—and schools are an essential part of that effort. Schools have direct contact with more than 56 million students for at least 6 hours a day and for 13 critical years of their social, physical, and intellectual development. The school environment is also a key setting in which students’ behaviors and ideas are shaped. Just as schools are critical to preparing students academically and socially, they are also vital partners in helping young people take responsibility for their health and adopt health-enhancing attitudes and behaviors
They have issued grants to 20 NGO’s to further their mission.
A google search returned a State Government hit for what looked like every state. The American Red Cross has a program. So, I don’t think there is a whole lot that hasn’t been covered from a government or not-for-profit organization as far as attention to this issue.
The GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE just published a paper on December 1, 2011 that is available in PDF format. It is titled State Policies in Brief and has good information about Sex and STD education laws in each State. One thing I noticed (with suprise) is that some States have a parental consent form for HIV education. WTF? I really recommend reading this report. There are hyperlinks to sources at the end.
So, the question continues. What else can we do to prepare our kids to make responsible decisions regarding their health? Can we do anything more except offer “Last Chance” solutions (Plan B) to some of the issue they may face?
Please post any links or insights you think may contribute to the discussion.