Florida: Frankly, Teens Have Much to Say About Sex
December 19, 2006
"Are you willing to die for [sex]?" That was the question facilitators posed to around 400 teenagers attending the 27th annual Adolescent Health and Sexuality Conference at Dillard High School on Dec. 2. Organizers said the goal of the conference was to encourage young people to be responsible when it comes to actions that could spread HIV, cause unwanted pregnancies, or even land older teens in jail for statutory rape.
Jasmin D. Shirley, president of the Broward County Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, said teenagers are an underserved group lacking the facts about sex and its impact on their lives. According the county Health Department, people ages 13-29 make up 24 percent of Broward's 6,752 HIV cases and 15 percent of its 16,625 AIDS cases. "This is nothing to play with," said Shirley.
The five-hour conference was peppered by questions teens had about HIV, pregnancy, masturbation and statutory rape. "They were very engaging," said health worker Marie Arterberry, who led a session on maintaining emotional health. "They get comfortable enough to ask questions that make you blush."
The teens learned techniques to help them make decisions beneficial to their physical, emotional and financial well-being. Four teens underwent oral HIV testing. "There's nothing to it," one girl said. "I would recommend it for people who are [sexually] active and for people who aren't active, too, because then you'll know what you're getting into when you decide to start having sex."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
12.03.2006; Macollvie Jean-François
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.