Delmarva Daily Times (Salisbury) (04.15.12) - Monday, April
STD rates among Wicomico County teens are among the highest in
the state. Michael Charlton, a county supervisor, is
responsible for implementing a state-determined sex education
curriculum that works to dispel misinformation and teach teens
how to avoid STDs and pregnancy.
"We teach other prevention methods, but the main theme that
runs through our curriculum is making sure that abstinence is
perceived by the student as No. 1," Charlton said. While the
instruction is taught primarily at the high-school level,
eighth-graders also get a basic understanding of the subject.
Parents have the option of removing their teens from the
lessons dealing with safe sex. Charlton estimates that less
than 5 percent of students are pulled out of the class.
The Wicomico County Health Department does targeted STD
testing of 15- to 19-year-olds. Health Services Specialist
Beebe Triplett said, "We target our testing services to those
groups of people who are more likely to be at risk, so
adolescents, teenagers, and young adults." The health
department works with public schools to help teens who need
testing or who want more information.
The department also works to address rumors about sex. "It's a
myth that young people who may have [an STD] would have signs
or symptoms," Triplett said. "I hear that [rumor] a lot. 'I
would know if I have [an STD].'"
The Board of Education recently approved "Straight Talk - The
Truth about STDs," a 30-minute video to support the 10th grade
health education curriculum.