Health Education and Promotion

Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention for Young People

What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection/Disease?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by infections that are passed from one personm to another during sexual contact. These infections often do not cause any symptoms. Medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms. Therefore, STIs are also called "sexually transmitted diseases". Some examples of STIs are chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV. Sexually transmitted infections affect people of all ages, backgrounds, and from all walks of life. More than half of all of us will get one at some time in our lives.

Why is this a focus of Kent County Health Department (KCHD)?

STIs are a major public health problem and affects young people more than any other age group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • About half of all Sexually Transmitted Infections occur among youth ages 15-24 years.
  • 2018 was the fifth year in a row in which increases were seen in all three nationally reported STDs (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis).
  • Young people aged 13 to 24 are especially affected by HIV. In 2018, young people accounted for 21% of all new HIV diagnoses. 

According to the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY):

  • Among Kent County high school students taking the MiPHY, only 55.6% of students who had sexual intercourse during the past three months used a condom during last sexual intercourse.

According the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS):

  • Among surveyed youth, 87.5% were never tested for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

How is KCHD addressing this issue?


KCHD provides prevention education and risk-education classes in various community settings, including schools and youth-serving agencies around Kent County for groups of 6 to 30 participants. Presentations vary based on the needs of the audience.

Personal Health Services Clinic:

KCHD STI Testing

For more information, contact:
Tracy Fahner | | (616) 632-7271

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