May 21, 2003
According to Beth Kaper, a health educator at TAPP, one out of every four sexually active teens will contract an STD, including gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, HIV and syphilis. Kaper drives the point home to the students by showing them large, blown-up pictures of the STDs. "You can talk about these different diseases and write them on the board, but then it's just a bunch of weird words," added DeLong.
Communication is one of the most important focuses in Kaper's presentations. She discusses with the students differences between healthy relationships versus unhealthy relationships, and infatuation versus love. Kaper also stresses the importance of young people being able to talk to each other about sex. "Teenagers need to know how to talk because they need to ask each other if they've had any other genital contact, and if they have, they need to get tested," said Kaper.
DeLong and Kaper teach and encourage kids to practice abstinence as the best way to stay away from the potentially harmful consequences of having sex at a young age. But they also discuss "secondary virginity" for teens that feel they made a mistake by having sex. "If you've had sex once, you don't have to do it again," said DeLong.