Leventhal, Ortman-Fouse Seek Info on Expanding Condom Distributon

Outgoing members of the Montgomery County Council and the school board have told school and health officials they want a condom-distribution plan, devised in the wake of a spike in sexually transmitted diseases, expanded from four high schools to all 25 Montgomery high schools.

In a joint memo, Councilmember George Leventhal and school board member Jill Ortman-Fouse also ask for feasibility studies on distributing condoms in the county’s 40 middle schools as well.

“As stewards of children, we have a moral obligation to create an environment that meets not only their educational, but their physical and medical needs as well,” Leventhal and Ortman-Fouse wrote in their memo.

“Parents entrust the county to nurture their children’s minds and bodies, and we would be doing them a disservice if we did not make every effort to provide these sexual health resources to every adolescent in the county.”

Leventhal and Orman-Fouse addressed the memo to school Superintendent Jack Smith, Health and Human Services Department Director Uma Uhluwalia and Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer.

HHS announced the condom distribution earlier this month with the release of data that reported a spike in the county’s incidence of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis among residents aged 15 to 29. Chlamydia cases rose by 17.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, and gonorrhea cases rose by 29 percent over the same period, county data show.

The health department’s plan now focuses on the four high schools with wellness centers: Northwood, Gaithersburg, Wheaton and Watkins Mill high schools.

In their memo, Leventhal and Ortman-Fouse note a perception that providing condoms in schools leads to increased sexual activity among youth. However, the memo included a link to a study published in January that showed condom distribution “positively influenced sexual behavior, while no studies reported increase in sexual activity.”

Leventhal and Ortman-Fouse continue: “We believe students and parents should be educated on the recent surge in STI cases, risk behaviors and why the distribution of condoms is both a prudent and necessary precaution to prevent the spread of these infections.”

The full memo is below:

Previous Posts:

To Fight STDs, Condoms to Be Offered in Some High Schools

20 Years Have Passed Since Montgomery Last Considered Condom Distribution

 

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About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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