From a press release. CHICAGO - Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) received a $525,000 grant to pilot a new Chicago Healthy Adolescents & Teens (CHAT) STI testing initiative for adolescents 13 to 24-years-old in Chicago. The CHAT program is being reimagined after being paused by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. In addition, PPIL is preparing to educate more students than ever by increasing the number of schools and students they reach by 25%, while also extending educational services to parents and guardians.
"Routine screening for STIs is not only a developmentally appropriate intervention for teens and young adults but an essential step toward self-determination and learning to manage their own health," said Chicago Department of Public Health Chief Medical Officer, Jennifer Seo, M.D. "As STI rates continue to climb nationwide, we are thrilled to continue our partnership with PPIL and CPS to bring testing directly to high school students. All young people in Chicago deserve safe, accessible, high-quality care when it comes to their sexual health."
With the CHAT program, PPIL is developing a tiered program that pilots a series of youth STI testing models in order to ultimately design a new program that is effective, scalable, and sustainable. The wide-ranging pilot is intended to gauge need, interest, and feasibility for students and school administrators to best serve youth and meet them where they are.
In addition to implementing the CHAT program, PPIL's education and outreach team is preparing to educate more students than ever by increasing the number of schools and students they reach by 25%, while also extending educational services to parents and guardians. PPIL plans to do this through outreach and partnership with Chicago Public Schools and others.
"We are excited to reach more students this school year," said Senior Manager of Education Cary Archer. "Sexual and health education empowers young people by increasing their knowledge and developing skills needed to take charge of their health, bodies, identities, and relationships. Having these conversations prepare students to make healthy decisions throughout life."
Classes delivered by PPIL's education and outreach team cover a wide range of essential topics, including birth control and condoms, gender identity and sexual orientation, sexually transmitted infections, sexual violence, and healthy relationships and consent, PPIL's most requested class.
PPIL also routinely partners with communities and schools to offer educational sessions to parents and guardians on various topics, including how to answer and navigate conversations on sexual health, supporting a healthy body image, supporting LGBTQ+ youth, and more. Last year, PPIL educated 5,000 students.
As a leading provider of reproductive healthcare and education, PPIL plays a critical role in breaking down stigmas and ensuring accessible, inclusive and comprehensive sex education. PPIL's education and outreach team continues to empower young minds with knowledge for a healthier future.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) provides affordable, high-quality reproductive health care services and medically accurate sexual health education. Through medical services, educational programs and advocacy efforts, PPIL works to ensure and protect the reproductive rights of each individual. For more information, visit www.ppil.org .