WAG, Chicago schools curb STI stats with PSAs

(Back, L-R): Corliss High School assistant principal Latanza Boarden, Austin Polytechnical Academy principal William Gerstein, Walgreens’ John Gremer, AIDS Foundation of Chicago policy associate Pete Subkoviak and CPS’ Ira Rounsaville with winners Ronald Johnson and Shamaine Pryor and their respective winning PSAs.

CHICAGO —Walgreens in May unveiled a new PSA campaign that encourages teens to “Stop. Think. Wait.”

The drug store chain and Chicago public schools—the nation’s third-largest school district—teamed up to raise awareness about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections and risky sexual behavior among teens. Currently, Chicago ranks first and second, respectively, for the highest rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia in the country for youth between the ages of 15 and 19 years, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The “Stop. Think. Wait.” program was developed in part by high school students in the area.

Walgreens’ director of community affairs John Gremer and Ira Rounsaville, CPS Office of Specialized Services’ coordinated school health specialist, unveiled two posters—created by juniors Ronald Johnson of Corliss High School and Sharmaine Pryor of Austin Polytechnical Academy—developed in line with the campaign at Austin Polytechnical Academy on May 14. Johnson, who was a finalist in last year’s Expression Against HIV/AIDS Awareness Contest, is featured on his poster.

“It is important to Walgreens to continually educate teens on the dangers of sexually transmitted infections,” Gremer said. “The extraordinary design created by Ronald Johnson from Corliss High School resonates among teens and will not only be displayed in every high school, but in many Walgreens locations as well.”

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