Kentucky: Alpha Phi Alpha Chapters Educate Boys About Choices, Sexual Responsibility
October 19, 2006
The differences between a man, a boy and a father, and how you know when you are ready for sex were just some of the questions that 43 young African-American males explored recently in Project Alpha, a program sponsored locally by the University of Kentucky's Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the March of Dimes.
One part of the program involves trying to identify STDs from a description of symptoms and graphic pictures. The teens recoiled and covered their eyes. "Does it hurt?" a student asked Dr. Jai Gilliam, who was explaining how untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea could manifest. "It does," answered Gilliam.
Project Alpha's aim is to teach boys about the responsibilities of sex and the choices they make, said James Lee, the APA alumni chapter's president. "We try to impress upon them that the relationship is more important than having sex and having a good time."
The boys also learn from personal stories how the transition from school to being a teenage father is not easy. You have to get a job and buy things for a baby instead of yourself, for instance. "If you don't have a strong support system, it could be your demise," said LeBronn Louden, 32, a medical assistant at UK Sports Medicine who became a father at 17.
Asked when one would know one is ready for sex, Shalen Alexander, 12, answered, "When you get a job, when you're out of school, when you get an education." "People should make sure that they should use protection, having sex and stuff," said Jackie Blanton, 11.
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.