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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UTAH: Uncensored Sex Education for Utah Teens, Thanks to Health Grants
Heather May
February 24, 2012
Salt Lake Tribune (02.19.12) - Friday, February 24, 2012

The state Department of Health (DOH) is using funds from the Affordable Care Act to support comprehensive sex education for teens outside of schools, at community-based settings like the Boys & Girls Club.

Some $484,000 in annual federal funding through 2015 will be used by Utah to try to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs among at-risk youths through the Personal Responsibility Education Program. Six community groups from Brigham City to Moab applied for and will receive the PREP money, which requires grantees to choose from evidence-based curricula.

Of 28 approved programs, DOH selected four. All "focus quite a bit on condom use, and not just for preventing teen pregnancy but for preventing HIV and AIDS as well," said Jennifer Mayfield, adolescent health coordinator for the department. "There are condom demonstrations in all of these curricula." The Boys & Girls' annual $100,000 grant will assist 500 teens in the Lied Club, Capitol West in Salt Lake City and in Tooele. The group selected the "All4You!" curriculum, a 14- week class that includes lessons on STD and pregnancy prevention and negotiation skills. "[Kids] need to have the knowledge that's going to best protect them," said Allison Barclay, vice president of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake.

A bill currently being considered in Utah, HB 363, would make sex education optional in schools.

Mayfield said DOH officials discussed how frank programs may offend conservative policy makers, but decided to go ahead and seek the PREP funds. "We wanted to do what we thought was best for our teens," she said.