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Howard County Will Give Free Condoms, STI Testing For All High Schools

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The program is aimed at reducing STD rates among students. This comes as the numbers for some types of diseases are on the rise in Howard county, Maryland.

The program will be available in all 12 Howard County high schools, making them one of the few districts to do so. The numbers statewide have become concerning.

Close to 45000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. A 10% increase from the year before. So they’ve had rising rates of sexually transmitted infections for the last few years in Howard County. The numbers were some of the highest in a decade for all ages.

What prompted the health department and school district to team up now, offering free condoms to high school students along with free nearby testing for sexually transmitted infections?

Child health medical director with the Howard County Health Department Jacqueline Duje has the answer. She said, there are opportunities for them to do better education and outreach so that they can provide adolescents with the knowledge that they need to prevent themselves from getting contracted from STDs. The adolescent population, a teenage population, essentially transmitted infections have been a rising concern.

Each student who requests a free kit will receive a bag with condoms and additional health information. This is what’s going to be given out up in the schools under the ‘nurse’s office’  program that’s completely confidential. One’s parents and guardians won’t be informed of doctor.

When asked, how do they address kids who may be the concern about going in there or maybe even embarrassed?

She said, that their staff is well it is very familiar with working with youth to make them comfortable. Howard County, Maryland began providing test kits for sexually transmitted infections for those students who wanted to have it done. Both Baltimore City and Montgomery County has similar programs.