By Sista Yaa
Sunday, April 20, 2014.
correspondence is in response to the story of promoting sex or preventing sexually
transmitted diseases (formally known as STDs).
To be concise references to STD, is now antiquated
terminology, just as the primus for suggesting supplying a condom to 'sexually
curious adolescents' somehow equates to promoting sex.
Please note promoting condom use only promotes
safer sex practices for those who are engaging in the act, regardless of their
age. I am sure you can agree that social media, internet access and
text messaging promotes sexual events far better than any public health
campaign could ever accomplished.
This is not a political issue, this is a public
health initiative based on sound public health data which supports the fact
there must be a holistic approach to reducing the number of STI including HIV
among adolescents 13-24 years old.
Based on the Chicago Department of Public Health
STI/HIV 2012 Surveillance Report, in Chicago for 2012 alone, there were a total
of 37,721 Chlamydia and Gonorrhea cases combined, of which, 13-24 year olds
accounted for 71% chlamydia cases and 67% Gonorrhea cases.
Since 2008, there has been a 6%
increase in Chlamydia diagnoses among those 13-19 years old. In 2011 there were
1,008 people newly diagnosed with HIV infection, 24% of those infections were
among people ages 13-24 years old. And in 2012 those under the age of 30 years
old accounted for half of the newly diagnosed Syphilis cases.
So it is undeniable that adolescents
are already having sex with or without permission of adults, and some are not
using condoms. People may say they want to reduce teen pregnancy, but being
pregnant is not a disease or infection it is a condition which changes in about
In contrast, if one does not prevent
or one is not treated for STD including HIV, the complications may last a life
time. However there is some good news, Blacks in Chicago experience the greatest
decreases in the percentage of Gonorrhea cases (4%) as compared to other
groups, due to access to treatment and safer sex reduction methods, like using
So, a campaign that supports using condoms
is not about promoting sex, instead it promotes a better, holistic and mature
approach toward a healthy attitude and skill set aptitude. Skills to be gained
from this angle, are decision making, problem solving, refusal and negotiations
with and among their peers. Now that is worth promoting!
Sista Yaa is Chicago’s Local Community Epidemiologist of TACTS
(The Association of Clinical Trial Services).