The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) partnered with MCPS Sept. 11 to draft a plan on STI prevention in residents ages 15-29. Collectively they decided to implement a system that teaches safe sex by providing free condoms and STI education to high school students.
In order to receive these condoms, students must go to their school nurse and request them. In return, the nurse provides STI and STD prevention methods and then gives the student five condoms.
These newly available condoms have caused a lot of controversy amongst Moco parents and adults. Many parents do not want their children having sex and fear that free condoms may be a source of motivation to do so regardless.
“As a health teacher, I strongly believe that teenagers should be abstinent until they are mentally and financially able to deal with the consequences of being sexually active,” a CHS health teacher, who requested anonymity, said.
Despite the negative connotations the idea of free condoms possesses, large amounts of high school students are still remaining to fight for these privileges and support the cause.
“Protection is a necessity and teens need more accessibility to condoms and information about sex than what they have had in the past,” senior Angie Brown said.
The quirks in the plan for this new sex-ed program are still being worked out. As of right now, CHS is given a minimum of 20 bags filled with 5 condoms each per month. County-wise, only 4,000 condoms are distributed to schools in total. If the demand for condoms exceeds 4,000, the county may have to pay an additional cost for more condoms from the supplier.
MoCo intends to keep this new policy for as long as it takes to get STI levels down, and possibly even longer to ensure there will be no return to such high levels of infections.
“The question you gotta ask yourself is, do you want them to do it protected or unprotected? Cause they’re going to do it either way,” junior Emma Litchfield said.