Most health officials agree that teens are not getting the information they need to protect themselves from STDs in the classroom. Like many other states Idaho does not have any set guidelines in place for sex education, instead leaving the curriculum up to the individual school systems.
While public schools are required to provide students with age appropriate and medically accurate information regarding HIV and STDs, most still do not learn all of the ways these transmittable diseases can be spread. Most public school districts that do provide sex education classes use abstinence based material that is often outdated and inaccurate.
Instead of helping teens learn how to protect themselves, many abstinence based sex education programs are putting students’ sexual health at risk.
Recent studies have shown that will abstinence is the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancies, it can’t prevent the spread of STDs. When this is coupled with the fact that teens are becoming sexually active at a younger age, it quickly becomes obvious that promoting abstinence is not always an effective solution.
Demographics play a key role in the city’s high STD rate. Even though it is the second largest city in the state, it is still remotely located. This can make it difficult for health officials to reach everyone, and inform them of the importance of being tested on a regular basis.
It’s remote location and smaller size has also resulted in a limited number of STI clinics. Adding to the problem are the recent budget cuts to health care, which has forced some community centers to close their doors. This is making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested.
The same budget cuts has also resulted in Medicaid no longer covering the STD testing fees, and this means many residents simply cannot afford to take care of their sexual health. According to statistics, these are also some of the people who are at the greatest risk for contracting a STD.
Most health experts agree that the main contributing factor is the lack of comprehensive sex education. It is not uncommon for students to graduate not knowing how important it is to always use protection during intercourse, and this is troublesome considering the fact that the majority of teens are already sexually active.
Until these and other issues are resolved the city can expect to continue to see high STD rates.
Before you decide to spend the day at one of the city’s scenic parks it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that it is important to get tested on a regular basis. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in line at a community health center, and now there is a faster and more convenient option. With one simple phone call you can easily schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab.