Journal Times (Racine) (09.14.2013)
Racine County, Wisc., reported that 33 percent of its STD diagnoses in 2012 occurred among residents ages 10 to 19, and teens ages 14 and younger accounted for eight of the county’s syphilis cases. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services stated that Racine County had the third highest rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia in the state, with approximately two of every 100 teens ages 10 to 19 diagnosed with an STD. Samantha Perry, project manager for the Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency, noted that the surprisingly high youth STD incidence had spurred the community to action.
The YMCA and the Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency planned to reach out to parents through their joint project, the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), to enlist parents into talking with their children about STD prevention. Sarah Martin, YMCA PREP administrator, stated that parents often neglected to discuss STDs when they talked with their children about sex. Martin stated that the PREP program emphasized abstinence first, but also provided guidance in sexual health and safety. In addition to sexual health, PREP addressed dating violence, financial literacy, career opportunities, and college readiness. The Medical College of Wisconsin provided a $470,000 grant to fund PREP.
Outreach to parents would begin with parent discussion groups and follow up with a community forum during October. The Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency planned to host parent discussion groups about STD rates in Racine on Tuesday, September 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 1134 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive; and on Monday, September 23, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency, 2113 N. Wisconsin Street.