Left to right: Corliss High School Assistant Principal Latanza Boarden, Austin Polytechnical Academy Principal William Gerstein, Walgreens Director of Community Affairs John Gremer, Corliss High School Junior Ronald Johnson, Austin Polytechnical Academy J

 A new public service announcement developed by students and promoted by Walgreens recently kicked off at Austin Polytechnical Academy High School on the West Side to raise awareness among teens about sexually transmitted diseases.

The campaign, “Stop. Think. Wait,” is aimed towards youth in educating them about and encouraging them not to participate in risky sexual behavior during the prom and summer season. The poster used in the campaign was designed by Ronald Johnson, a junior at George H. Corliss High School, and will be on display at several Walgreens drugstores nationwide.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago ranks first and second in the country when it comes to the highest rate for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia for youth between the ages of 15 to 19. Chicago Public Schools officials said they plan to do more this year to combat STDs in schools.  “CPS is committed to reducing the high rates and numbers of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies among adolescents,” said Ira Rounsville, a health specialist with the Office of Specialized Services at CPS. “We have increased the quality, availability and effectiveness of educational programs and services designed to prevent disease, improve health and increase the quality of life by addressing barriers to learning.”

And corporate partner John Gremer, directory of community affairs for Walgreens, said the drugstore chain has always supported health initiatives especially for youth.

 “It is important to Walgreens to continually educate teens on the dangers of sexually transmitted infections. Often students get caught up in the passion of the moment and lose sight of what can happen to them if they are not aware of the consequences” explained Gremer.   

 Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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