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STD's, Pregnancy and Teens: Local At-Risk Students Learn About the Risks and Realities
3/18/2002

FORT MYERS, FL - Teens in grades 8 through 12 are going to get an education about the risks and realities of Sexually-Transmitted Diseases and teen pregnancy thanks to a grant last week from the March of Dimes’ Southwest Coast Division to the Health Education Center at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“The March of Dimes is pleased to award this grant to educate students about STDs, teen pregnancy, fetal development, nutrition and pregnancy, and other topics,” director of Program Services, Tricia Christian, said.

“Members of the PSC (Program Services Committee) expressed the hope that the HEC would be able to provide education to a large number of students in the counties you have targeted with this March of Dimes grant.”

The Health Education Center is designed to help participants of all ages learn to live a healthier lifestyle and show that learning about health is fun.

Fees for the STD program are $3 per student. The $3,170 grant will help defray the cost for some students in targeted areas within the five-county region. The HEC expects to get the program in front of about 2,000 at-risk teens.

“More than 78 percent of all teenagers in the United States report being sexually active in high school and most have only a vague idea of the risk they take,” director of the Health Education Center, Kathryn Kleist, said.

“The HEC’s ‘STDs: Playing With Fire’ program details the dangers involved with early sexual activity. Presented in a straightforward, factual manner, it graphically illustrates the cause and effects of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and problems with teen pregnancy. Using recent statistics and medical facts, abstinence is proven the only risk-free behavior.”

The HEC, once part of the Lee Health Education Center sponsored by the Lee Memorial Health System, accommodates about 120 visitors per day.

A $1 million donation in November from the Peter D. and Eleanor A. Kleist Foundation will give the HEC its own building on the FGCU campus. FGCU agreed to incorporate the program under the College of Health Professions, which has fully accredited programs in each of its clinical discipline areas and prepares a competent health workforce for Southwest Florida.

For more information about the STD program or the Health Education Center, contact Nancy Metzger at (941) 590-7459 or nmetzger@fgcu.edu.

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