North Carolina state law says public schools have to educate children about abstinence and safe sex. Some report that it appears nobody is regulating the curriculum. They also state that is it not easy to find a teacher willing to talk about what they teach kids about sex. Dr. Deb Kaclick of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools notes teachers could feel the school board might not support them.
Or a teacher could feel that a principal does not support them. Dr. Kaclick taught sex education in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for 17 years. She agrees it’s tough to know what kids are actually learning, despite a strong state law that mandates the subject. The law says local schools have to teach abstinence as the expected standard.
That is the only certain means of avoiding pregnancy and STDs. In 1996, the state began requiring schools also teach safe sex. This includes contraceptives and disease prevention. It is up to individual school districts to decide what is taught.
Dr. Ellen Essick works in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She makes sure schools know the guidelines. She notes that some schools may not do the best job either out of fear or lack of time. She says no one regulates the curriculum and there are no consistent teaching materials across the state.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools have a standardized program across all schools from 6 to 12th grade. Some counties teach abstinence and safe sex.
Whatever they teach must be medically accurate. Lawmakers mandated that in 2009.
This makes North Carolina one of just 13 states with that stipulation. Teen pregnancy in Mecklenburg County is down 50 percent since the law mandating schools teach safe sex went into effect. The latest numbers available show more than 1,000 pregnant teens in the county in 2013. Parents who don’t want schools to teach their child sex ed can sign a waiver to opt them out.
Mecklenburg county residents can get STD counseling, testing, and treatment at STD Control Clinics run by the Health Department for the county. Two Health Department locations provide service clients.
Anyone who suspects exposure to an STD or wants to be screened can visit either location. This is a walk in service. No appointment is needed. HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea screening is available.
You need an appointment for a physical exam and additional screening. If you are experiencing symptoms, make an appointment. Symptoms include abnormal discharge, bumps, sores, blisters, and difficulty urinating.
An urgent care center is another resource that can help. This can be a good option if you are embarrassed about going to an STD clinic or standing in line at a facility such as Planned Parenthood. No one will know why you are at an urgent care center. Carolinas Health Care System Urgent Care in your city is such a center.
Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center is a facility that also can help. No one will know why you are there.
STD Check can also help. With this service you can take STD test frequently and routinely as needed. You order tests online or by phone. The service provides what they call a groundbreaking HIV RNA test. The test can detect HIV in the blood from nine to eleven days after exposure with definitive results. You order the test online or over the phone. Then you visit a test center and test in less than five minutes. Then you get results.
You get test results in one to two business days. The Better Business Rating for the group is A plus. The service notes you get no embarrassing questions when you arrive for your test. The service has a 10 test panel for STDs including hepatitis A.
Your monthly statement charges for services so your privacy is preserved. The privacy guidelines that protect your information at the doctor’s office are the same ones this services to safeguard your personal information, including the HIPAA Privacy Rule. All of the labs used test for many conditions that do not relate to STDs so your reason for visiting the test center is not known.
The nearest Planned Parenthood location is the Charlotte Health Center. If transportation is no problem, this could be a good option. Planned Parenthood offices offer reliable services for STD testing in a non judgmental environment. Testing includes bacterial vaginosis (BV), chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV (testing and diagnosis only), syphilis and trichomoniasis (trich).
The STD rates in your area and state are high so you should get information about STDs, testing, and treatment from a counsellor or nurse at an area school, Planned Parenthood office in Charlotte, or other facility such as an urgent care center or hospital. STD testing is the only way to know for sure whether you have been affected by an STD and should get treatment for yourself and your partner.
Remember too that an organization such as the Planned Parenthood office in Charlotte has staff trained to help you and remind you to always use a condom. Here are additional links to resources.