Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — Malama Pono Health Services will be hosting “Skateboard Fun,” June 23 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Kapa‘a Skateboard Park to promote HIV Awareness Day as well as promote the National HIV Testing Day on June 27.
The program includes an afternoon of skateboarding, HIV Awareness, testing information, give-aways and an opportunity to meet Kaua‘i’s Condom Sense crew, said Fath Harding, Malama Pono’s Director of Prevention Services for women and youth Thursday when accepting a grant from A&B Foundation for the Condom Sense program.
“The University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine described ‘Condom Sense’ as the ‘most innovative and creative sexually transmitted Disease/AIDS prevention program for youth that we have yet seen’ and we are happy A&B Hawai‘i agrees,” said Harding, who was joined by DQ Jackson, director of Malama Pono, in accepting the grant from Dewayne Kong of Matson Navigation, Trinette Kaui of A&B Properties and Ron Victorino of Kaua‘i Commercial, all three representing A&B Hawai‘i subsidiaries doing business on Kaua‘i.
“Most people on Kaua‘i have heard a ‘Condom Sense’ message on the radio,” Harding said. “The intended audience is Kaua‘i’s young people aged 14 to 19 years old and we have broadcast thousands of messages which have been created, scripted and produced by Kaua‘i youth.”
Harding said the messages are in pidgin-English and recorded by high school students from Kaua‘i with the messages always being very humorous and exhibit typical teen-age risk behaviors for sexually transmitted diseases.
Young people ages 13 to 29 accounted for 39 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009, states a factoid on the Condom Sense poster.
Only 54 percent of Hawai‘i’s high school students reported using condoms at last intercourse — the lowest percentage of any state in the U.S., the poster states.
It also states students with access to condoms at school have sex less often than those at schools without similar programs and have a later onset of sexual activity.
“The response to the Condom Sense program is measurable, quantifiable and demonstrable as we, and the Department of Health count the increased number of young people coming in for STD testing,” Harding said. “The increase in protection skills for Kaua‘i’s young people is also measurable as a result of this education project.”
Many of today’s youth are already sexually active and nationally, 80 percent of teenages have had sex by 19. Twenty-two percent of Hawai‘i’s middle school students reported having had sex and 44 percent of high school students are sexually active, the poster states.
“We’re very grateful to the A&B Foundation for this donation in support of the Condom Sense program,” Harding said. “The goal is reduced STD infections, especially Chlamydia which is the major cause of female infertility on Kaua‘i, and reduced, unintended pregnancies. The Condom Sense program promotes abstinence first, and then effective condom use for those youth unwilling or unable to practice abstinence.”
For more information on the Skateboard Fun promoting HIV Awareness Day for ages 14 and up, or for more information on the Condom Sense, or STD, call Malama Pono at 246-9577.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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