Texas: Teens, Parents Talk About Sex Program
May 25, 2005
San Antonio district schools recently introduced an hour-long presentation by the Metropolitan Health District (MHD) that provides students with information about STDs, symptoms, and testing. MHD's presentation is abstinence-based, but goes beyond classroom instruction by emphasizing condom use and giving students telephone numbers they can call for STD testing without parental consent. Under Texas sex-education curriculum standards, condoms are discussed only with respect to their failure rates. MHD Director Fernando Guerra calls this curriculum "woefully inadequate."
MHD clinic managers said the day following the first student presentation they received about 20 more calls than is average from people seeking STD tests. Some parents phoned in concerns about the program's message.
In 2004, there were 330 syphilis cases in Bexar County -- a 60 percent increase in one year -- and HIV/AIDS cases posted a 32 percent increase. Area physicians and clinics reported an increase in the STDs among teens, pregnant girls, and women this year. That raises concerns that infected adults are having sex with teens, and youths are having sex with multiple partners and are not using condoms.
"The pattern that is being observed is the increase in the number of sex partners and that is unusual," said Guerra. "There were some kids that were having seven, eight, nine different partners who were probably infected." Guerra expects MHD's STD presentation will be given in other Bexar County schools this fall.
San Antonio Express-News
05.21.05; Simone Sebastian
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.