In the Midst of STD Epidemic, High Schoolers in Ohio Work to Teach Their Peers About Safe Sex
Health officials have repeatedly warned that the United States is facing “epidemic” levels of sexually transmitted infections. Ohio is no exception. Last year, in the state’s most populous county — Cuyahoga County, which includes the Greater Cleveland area — new cases of HIV infections soared to the highest level they’ve been in six years.
So, in order to effectively combat the growing public health crisis, which disproportionately impacts youth, high school students are stepping up to help educate their fellow teenagers about safe sex. Through a grant-funded program at Case Western Reserve University’s Infectious Disease Alliance, teens are being trained as “peer educators” so they can communicate directly with people their own age. As the Plain Dealer reports, the team of young people — who were selected from a pool of applicants from several Ohio high schools — received months of sexual health instruction from medical experts to help them design a public health plan that targets the zip codes with the highest rates of STD infection.