Comprehensive sex education is the law in California. This means that all public schools in California are required by law to teach comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education at least once in middle school and once in high school.
Comprehensive sex education includes learning about anatomy and birth control. It also means students are taught about healthy relationships, decision-making, and more. This sex education should give students information to make healthy decisions about relationships and sexual and reproductive health. The sex education curriculum in school should include information about:
- Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sex trafficking
- Health relationships
- Adolescent relationship abuse, intimate partner violence and sexual coercion
- Sexual orientation and sexuality
- Gender identity, gender roles, and gender stereotypes
- Consent, communication, and healthy decision-making
- HIV prevention and other STD prevention including testing and treatment
- Pregnancy prevention, parenting, adoption, and abortion
It is the right of a student to get this information in schools. A group called Teen Source asks students if they are actually getting comprehensive sex education at school. Teen Source provides students with a questionnaire online to fill out to say if they have not received sex education covering all of the above. Teen Source also gives students a chance to explain if they have received information that is not accurate.
A new bill signed into law will add more information into sexual education courses for middle school and high school students. Previously only HIV and AIDS prevention were required in school.
This new law will now include sexual health education. Students will be taught the information once in middle school and once in high school. Parents will have the option to opt their children out of the sexual education course.
Denise Smith, the Director of Disease Control at Kern County’s Department of Public Health, said the new requirements can help Kern County STD rates.
There are STI testing resources available in your city and area. Delano Community Health Center could be an ideal place for you to get information, testing, and treatment if needed.
The Bakersfield Health Center/Planned Parenthood is another place that can help but it is 30 miles away from your city. If transportation is no problem you could go there for STI counselling, testing, treatment, and vaccines. Testing, diagnosis, and treatment is provided for chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, genital warts, herpes, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Testing and diagnosis only are provided for HIV. Prevention services include condoms and hepatitis B vaccines.
STD Check and Plush Care are other options for testing in your area. Plush Care offers what they call safe and easy STD testing. You order your test, visit a local test center, then get results and treatment if needed. Doctors and pharmacies partner with this service.
We do not know the exact reason why people do not get tested but some in your area are offering STD tests to be ordered online and mailed to homes. You provide a sample, send it back to a lab, and get results within a few days. We do not know how reliable these services are. The hope is to get approval for these tests from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell similar tests in stores. These tests are not all cleared by the FDA to be sold online.
Health officials in California note how difficult it can be to get people to go to one of their STD clinics. The county then offered kits online to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea for women under the age of 25. This group should have annual screens for these two STIs as these women are considered at risk and primarily bearing the consequences of the STIs.
Planned Parenthood also launched an app in California. Through the app men and women can order chlamydia and gonorrhea tests.
Another way to get information about where to get tested is the Teen Source organization. Teen Source is a project of Essential Access Health. Project activities are supported by the federal Office of Population Affairs, Title X grant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) STD Prevention Programs, the California Wellness Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union. It operates an online service that can help you get information about STDs and where to get testing and treatment.
This online hub for teen friendly sexual and reproductive health information has material that is for teens and by teens. It features accurate and reliable information about STDs, birth control, healthy relationships, and teen rights to accessing sensitive services in California. The site also features youth-generated blogs and videos.
From the Teen Source page, you can get free condoms if you are 12 to 19 years old and live in California. You can pick up a condom near you or order condoms to be mailed to your home. If you have them mailed to your home, they come in a plain yellow envelope so no one knows the contents.
Whether you go to a counsellor or nurse at an area high school such as Delano High School, an online service, Planned Parenthood, or a clinic or hospital, you can find in your area information about STDs, testing, and treatment. While STD rates are high in your area, help is available in your city in the way of testing and treatment that is confidential, discreet, compassionate, and effective.
Consider how the staff at these facilities is trained to help someone like you, especially with the staff at Planned Parenthood/Bakersfield or any other facility reminding you to check your health, improve it, and keep yourself healthy by always using a condom.