Jr. High Students Text STD Status
A program for students called Qpid.me has been launched by the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Qpid” is pronounced like “cupid.” Qpid.me is a “sex education tool” that enables students thirteen years old and older to find nearby HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) testing services and then receive their test results on their cell phone or computer. Students can send their disease results to potential sex partners, as well as receive an acquaintance’s report, before having sex. The motto of the company that developed Qpid.me is “Spread the Love, Nothing Else.”
The National Abstinence Education Association issued a statement about Qpid.me being a part of California’s sex education curriculum for children beginning in 7th grade. It said that “[Qpid.me] provides tacit endorsement of teen sexual activity, sending the message to teens as young as 13 that sexual experimentation is expected and risk-free as long as they are tested for STDs and use a condom.” (NY Daily News, 5-30-13)
The Qpid.me program allows students to share test results for the STDs gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, but does not include genital herpes or HPV results. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent STD in the nation.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are 110 million Americans with STDs, amounting to $16 billion a year in medical costs. Young people ages 15-24 account for 50% of the almost 20 million new STD infections annually. (CDC Fact Sheet, 2-13-13)
Other critics of the Qpid.me program mention that clean STD results are only up-to-date until the student has sex with just one additional person.
The Los Angeles school district issued the following statement in defense of the Qpid.me program:
The educational system has the most direct contact with youth; our ability to impact and empower them is endless. Our responsibility is to give them the best information and skill necessary as they venture through their entire lives, because sexuality is with them for their entire life.
Shouldn’t parents “have the most direct contact with youth,” and also be responsible for giving their children information about sex and disease? The rates of teen pregnancy and STDs have increased dramatically since schools have taken on the role of sex education.