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Students in LA learn how to check their STD status

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A few months ago, a website was launched called, which was designed to help take some of the awkwardness out of asking someone if they have any sexually transmitted diseases, and when the last time they used STD testing services was. The way that this website works is that each person who signs up for gives the website access to his or her STD testing records and is then given a code. That code can then be given to a new sexual partner, who can look him or her up and see when the last time he or she was tested and the results.

Recently, CNN reported that this website has partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District - the second largest in the U.S. - to teach students in the seventh grade and up how to check their STD status, show a potential partner and ask a partner for his or her own results.

A problem in LA
The news source explained that the school district was motivated to do this due to the high rate of sexual activity among young people in the LA area. Back in 2005, a survey found that out of 4,000 middle-schoolers in 14 area public schools, 16 percent of seventh graders had engaged in oral sex and 20 percent of eighth graders had participated in intercourse. Furthermore, a 2011 survey found that 39 percent of high schoolers in the area had engaged in intercourse.

Tim Kordic, the district's HIV/AIDS prevention program manager, told CNN that while he doesn't actually expect many seventh graders to use services, he is hopeful that high school students will. Furthermore, teaching kids about STDs early on and how to ask their future partners about their status could lead to them being more comfortable talking about these sensitive issues once they are in high school.

However, not everyone is thrilled about the new program.

"While we absolutely encourage sexually active teens to be tested for STDs, the underlying message of the campaign is troublesome," Valerie Huber, president and CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association, told CNN. "It provides tacit endorsement of teen sexual activity, sending the message to teens as young as 13 that sexual experimentation is expected and risk-free as long as they are tested for STDs and use a condom,"

Kordic disagrees and said the message of this program isn't to say to kids that it's alright for them to have sex as long as they use, but rather to help keep them safe if they are already planning on having sex.

STDs and California
No matter how people feel about this recent move buy LA schools one thing is certain - California has an STD problem. According to an article published by The Huffington Post, syphilis cases in the state jumped by 18 percent from 2010 to 2011. Furthermore, during this time period, there was a 5 percent increase in chlamydia cases and a 1.5 percent increase in the number of people found to have gonorrhea.

According to the news source, Heidi Bauer, chief of the health department's STD control branch, explained that this increase in STD rates could be due to people having more sexual partners and not using condoms, or because communities are closing STD clinics.

However, there may also be fewer people getting tested for STDs in California as well as other states because they do not want to talk to their doctor about this problem because they are embarrassed. These individuals should look into the confidential STD testing services out there that are completely confidential and can be done without ever having to step foot insider of a doctor's office.

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