Added: Kasim Dore - Date: 11.02.2022 22:01 - Views: 36616 - Clicks: 6765
Katharine Weber has been counseling kids at Cunha Intermediate School for 15 years, and she's never really seen anything like this before. She says sexual activity is on the rise at the middle school, more than ever - and with that is an alarming rise in pregnancies among young girls. Lorraine , medical director at the Coastside Family Medical Center, said she's seen young pregnancies in her practice, and that she's heard of many more.
Also alarming, she said, is that some of those middle school girls have been sexually active with men in their 20s. And beyond all of that, she said, there's a sharp rise in the of youngsters who are sexually active - and that they're almost casual about it. said, "and in the last few years I've seen a lot more promiscuity and a more lackadaisical attitude toward sex - having sex with friends. Some of these students go to physicians and to school counselors, and some of them end up in the mobile office of Cathy Boeschow, a senior public health nurse for San Mateo County.
Boeschow operates the county's mobile medical clinic - so, every Wednesday, she parks the van on the Coastside to help local children with health care. Some of the seventh- and eighth-graders who stop by during their lunch breaks or after school are looking for information about contraception, or referrals for reproductive services. And that's actually a good thing, Boeschow said. She'd rather they be informed and prepared and behaving responsibly, if they're going to be sexually active. To Cunha counselor Ilene Bragman, this type of sexual behavior is becoming all-too-common - especially among some kids, she said, who might not be able to emotionally handle it.
And even if those kids really were aware and ready for it, she added, their parents definitely would not be. Bragman said that, sometimes, sexual activity happens "between 3 and 6 o'clock, when the parents aren't home. As a result, she worries they're engaging in "really risky sexual behavior that can be damaging to them - things they are in no way physically or emotionally ready to handle. There's one attitude and perception that just about all parents share, Cunha counselor Weber said. But clearly, a of kids are not too young for any kind of thing, as evidenced by the higher of young pregnancies seen by individual physicians, counselors and or other health care professionals.
Strict confidentiality laws, along with a diversity of treatment avenues, make compiling hard, quantitative data on the rate of early teen sexual activity and pregnancy nearly impossible," said Sam Stebbins, deputy director of San Mateo County's health and human services. That le into the one practical piece of advice that counselor Bragman has to offer: "Parents need to be home," she said, "when kids are having parties. The time of most change, most local health professionals agree, is the summer just after middle school ends.
They're not children anymore, and they're not active teenagers. She always urges children to try to talk with their parents - however, she said, most kids are too frightened to do that. They're afraid they'll be severely punished, she said, or even kicked out of the house for discussing the matter. One other fact that most health professionals agree on is that this rise in early pregnancy and sexual activity cuts across all race and socio-economic lines. Statistics on community birth rates show higher pregnancy rates among the Latino population, but statistics are misleading, Boeschow said.
The mobile van does not perform abortions. It does offer referrals to clinics that can perform them. Cunha counselor Weber pointed out that while the problem is not limited to the Latino community, there seems to be a prevailing attitude that insists it's not a white issue. And those people, she said, are either in the dark or in denial. Cunha counselor Bragman believes it's critical for people to understand the issue crosses ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. And yet, even knowing as much about it as he does, he's like most parents, he said -sometimes he has a hard time believing it himself.
I want him to be still playing with Tonka trucks. While early teen sexual activity and pregnancy is frightening to parents, they need to face the topic squarely, said Susan Alvaro of the Coastside Collaborative - because, she said, if nothing is done, the problem will only get worse. Alvaro has brought together a cross-section of local doctors, nurses, counselors and other health care professionals - as well as principals, teachers and parents - to try to come up with solutions.
Their goal is to raise awareness and prompt a drop in the frequency of sex and sexually related activities among teenagers. And it's not just sex, it's everything else," Alvaro said. And because they're so young, many are engaging in sexually related activities without having a full understanding of the consequences.
But if the problem is going to be remedied - and she's working very hard to do just that - she said the community first must accept it and then move forward. It has nothing to do with blame, though, she said.
And it's vital not to single out Cunha, she said - this issue is a problem throughout the county and the state. And it's not parents' fault either, she said. It's more an issue of community awareness, she said - a matter of paying attention and watching out for Coastside kids.
Senior public health nurse Boeschow travels to communities throughout the county, and agreed the issue of early teen sex and pregnancy is not restricted to the coast - but there is one big difference between this community and those over the hill, she said.
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