At Wednesday’s health fair at Greenwich High School in the gym foyer, there was a critical mass of students that made it comfortable to approach any of the participants without standing out awkwardly.
A group of teens in a club called “Open Eyes” administered a questionnaire to students about Sexually Transmitted Diseases – STDs.
Using an app called Kahoot, they created a 10-question pop quiz that students took on their iPhones.
They simply keyed in a short code and the quiz popped up on both their phones, while the Open Eyes laptop displayed questions and multiple choice answers.
Nobody judged. Many acknowledged feeling uninformed.
Why is it important? Because half of all sexually active young people will get an STD before the age of 25. Most will not know it.
For one brief moment, Herpes was not a punch line. It was a question.
“Herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact,” Amanda said to a group of ten students.
Herpes is a virus one can get without having sex. The herpes virus enters the body through the skin.
In fact, Herpes is a very common skin disease. Most of the time, it is hard to notice herpes, so most people don’t know they have it.
Another question. How many sexually transmitted (STD) cases occur every year in the US? The answer: 20 million.
“No matter what, if you had anything to do with oral, anal or vaginal sex, you should get tested,” Jennifer Rezende, who explained that she got involved with Open Eyes through Keystone Club at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. Several times she mentioned the STD clinic at Town Hall, also known as the *Venus Clinic.
The Open Eyes group originated through the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, where Nancy Risman is on the board. She explained that the idea evolved following a legacy grant for the Red Ribbon Foundation, a non profit dedicated to education about preventing HIV and AIDS. The Open Eyes Club was launched last September.
Lest the interactive quiz be a one-hit wonder, Risman said they’re in the process of reaching out to private high schools in town to share the idea.
*The Venus Clinic on the Town Hall third floor is directed by Robin Clark-Smith. It is open year round, two days a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00pm – 5:00pm.
The program is a collaboration of Greenwich Health Dept and Greenwich Hospital. There is always either a doctor or nurse practitioner present during clinic hours.
At Venus Clinic, no one needs to make an appointment. Services are free and confidential.
When a person is tested, they are given a code. Afterward, they call the clinic with their code number rather than their name, and are given their results. If they test positive, they are invited back to the clinic again. At that point the clinic conducts a risk assessment and the person receives medication free of charge.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are most common among the 15-25 year old population. With Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, 75 % of women and 50% of men don’t show symptoms for a year.
The Venus Clinic Walk-In Clinic is free, confidential and open year-round on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00pm – 5:00pm in Greenwich Town Hall, 101 Field Point Rd.
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