Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April is STD Awareness Month


Check out the CDC website link for more information on STD Awareness Month and more ideas for your outreach program

Know the facts! GYT: Get Yourself Tested
False assumptions about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—how they're spread, treated, and prevented—are everywhere and it can be especially hard for people to get the facts. Here are five you need to know:
  • You can't tell someone has an STD just by looking at them.
  • STD tests aren't always a part of a regular doctor visit.
  • Almost all STDs that can be spread via unprotected vaginal sex can also be spread through unprotected oral and anal sex.
  • Using a condom can take a lot of the worry out of sex, since it can prevent unintended pregnancy and protect you from STDs.
  • STD testing is a basic part of staying healthy.
Because half of the estimated 20 million STDs that occur in the United States each year are among young people, STD Awareness Month 2015 is focused on this population. This month-long observance provides an opportunity to clear up misperceptions about STD prevention and testing, and confront the unique challenges that young people face when it comes to preventing these infections.

Half of all sexually active young people in the United States will get an STD by the time they're 25—and most won't know it.
Know the Facts

Not having sex is the only way to prevent STDs. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex. If you are sexually active, however, you can lower your risk of getting STDs by:
  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and does not have STDs.
  • Limiting the number of people you have sex with if you have more than one partner.
  • Using latex condoms and dental dams the right way every time you have sex.
  • Getting an HPV vaccine, which can protect you against diseases (including cancers) caused by the human papillomavirus.

GYT: Get Yourself Tested

Getting yourself tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Not only is it quick and simple, it's also usually confidential. A 2014 study found that one-third of adolescents didn't talk about sexual health issues with their physicians at all during annual health visits. It is important to be honest with your health care provider about your sexual history so that he or she can provide you with the appropriate STD testing and prevention guidance. If you're not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STDs, there are many clinics that provide confidential and free or low-cost testing. It is also important that you find and visit a doctor or other medical provider who stays current on STD and HIV testing recommendations.

Share the Knowledge

Now that you know the facts, it's time to spread the word! The GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign is a youth-oriented, empowering social movement to encourage young people to get tested and treated for STDs and HIV. GYT campaign materials have been developed for doctors, health departments, school administrators, and community-based organizations to help young people increase their knowledge about STD prevention and testing. You can order newly designed GYT posters, stickers, and postcards at CDC-INFO on Demand to display in schools, clinics, community organizations, and health departments.
GYT is a partnership between the American College Health Association, Kaiser Family Foundation, National Coalition of STD Directors, MTV, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Technical consultation for GYT is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

10 Reasons to Carry Condoms

10 Reasons to Carry Condoms, Always

10 Reasons to Carry Condoms, Always
As the co-founder of Sustain, people always ask me: “So like, do you just carry a ton of condoms around all the time?”
The answer is YES. I carry condoms around with me just like I carry lipstick, credit cards and tampons, but not just because I started a condom company.
Here are the ten reason every woman should carry condoms always:
  1. 1 in 4 Americans will contract an STD.
  2. Among unmarried women in their 20s, 70% of pregnancies are unintended.
  3. Only 21% of sexually active single women use condoms regularly.
  4. 1 in 4 college freshmen will contract an STD by the end of their first year of college.
  5. 16 – 24 year olds account for over half of all newly diagnosed STDs.
  6. People in their early 20s have the highest reported cases of syphilis and HIV.
  7. In the US there are 20 million new cases of STDs reported annually (that’s over 54,000 cases per day)!
  8. “I’m so upset we used a condom last night.” -said no one ever
  9. Condoms are no longer evidence of prostitution (Yes, this was recently very real.)
  10. The U.S. has the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world.
As young, smart, successful men and women, we are failing ourselves by leaving our sexual health in someone else’s hands. As women, we especially need to overcome the ridiculous and dated stigma attached to buying and carrying condoms, and get on top of our sexual health. -Meika Hollender, Co-Founder, Sustain Condoms
For more awesome articles on Safe Sex, please visit the SUSTAIN CONDOMS webpage: sustaincondoms.com

Monday, March 9, 2015

How do you feel about this New Sex Education Curriculum

Here is an interesting article from TheStar.com about a new Sex Education Curriculum that has caused quite a stir of emotion in one school district. Let us know where you stand.


Sex Ed: Too far or not far enough

     Ontario’s new sex ed curriculum was unveiled Monday to mixed reviews from parents, with some lauding changes to the almost two-decade-old material as long overdue, and others vowing a showdown over what they consider age-inappropriate content.
     Education Minister Liz Sandals expected some parental opposition but reiterated that the materials will be implemented this fall as planned.
     “I anticipate there will be members of various religions who may object to one thing or another . . . but the curriculum is the curriculum that will be taught in Ontario schools,” said Sandals.
     On Monday, the Liberals unveiled the first update to the province’s health curriculum since 1998. So antiquated was the existing syllabus that it did not even reflect the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada more than a decade ago. The update also covers cyber safety, including sexting, as well as consent, and puts the curriculum in line with what’s being taught in other provinces.
     Toronto mom Stephanie Baptist, a counsellor with Toronto Public Health, said it’s important to talk to kids about things like sexting in Grade 4 because even though they likely don’t have a cellphone, they do have access to devices “early, and often” — and often without supervision.
     Parents, she added, will always play a role no matter what schools teach.
     “Curriculum comes from the province — but the values always come from the family,” she said.
     However, as many as 2,000 parents plan to protest outside Queen’s Park on Tuesday, upset at what they feel is too much information at too young an age, as well as a lack of meaningful parental consultation.
     “My concern is about the process,” said Ziyad Mohamed, a Mississauga father of two young children who says religion has nothing to do with his concerns.
     He also feels “the government has tried to demonize those who object” rather than listen to them.
     In a telephone interview, Sandals said the curriculum underwent significant consultation with many groups over the years, and Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters Monday the government is “very committed to this.”
      Sandals said she has not labelled parents who object as zealots — that characterization has come from the media.
      “We understand that parents are concerned and they want to know what their kids are learning,” she said, adding materials were created by experts and based on evidence.
The curriculum that will be in use in schools by this September is largely the same as what was proposed five years ago, then scrapped by then-premier Dalton McGuinty due to an outcry by a vocal minority of social conservatives.
      Farina Siddiqui, co-ordinator of the Greater Toronto group Coalition of Concerned Parents, will take part in Tuesday’s protest and said it includes parents “of faith, of no faith — from every walk of life.”
     “The ministry is calling us a fringe group. We are parents; we are the most important stakeholders in our children’s lives.”
      Wynne, who has long championed a revised curriculum, told reporters everything in the update is “age appropriate” and “it’s done in a way kids can understand,” adding it’s important for kids as young as Grade 1 to learn about “different lifestyles and different family configurations.”
     Jacki Yovanoff, a Waterloo mom of four, welcomed talk about consent and bullying, saying it builds on what she’s taught her own children about respecting their bodies and others’ bodies.
     “I understand the concern — seeing (the terms) anal sex, oral sex in writing, especially in relation to elementary-age students takes you aback,” she said, adding that when you look at what is being taught at what age, the curriculum revamp makes sense given children’s experiences today.
As first disclosed by the Star’s Martin Regg Cohn on Sunday, the modernized curriculum is designed to keep kids safe from abuse by educating them.
     Proper names for body parts and genitals will be taught in Grade 1 — something child-abuse investigators have long urged.
     The first mention of the concept of same-sex relationships will be introduced to Grade 3 students.
     Grade 4 students will learn about online safety, text messaging and “sexual pictures,” as well as puberty.
      Grade 6 students will be taught what masturbation is and will learn about healthy relationships and consent.
     Grade 7 students will be warned about the risks of “sexting” as well as informed about sexually transmitted diseases and oral and anal sex.

      Sandals noted that if parents object to “this curriculum — or, quite frankly, science curriculum or English curriculum or any other piece of curriculum — the Education Act gives a parent of any religion or belief system the right to withdraw their child from that particular lesson.”