Walgreens, Chicago public schools seek to curb STI statistics with PSA campaign

From left: Corliss High School assistant principal Latanza Boarden; Austin Polytechnical Academy principal William Gerstein; Walgreens director of community affairs John Gremer; Corliss High School junior Ronald Johnson; Austin Polytechnical Academy junior Shamaine Pryor; AIDS Foundation of Chicago policy associate Pete Subkoviak and CPS Office of Specialized Services' coordinated school health specialist Ira Rounsaville.

CHICAGO One of the nation’s largest drug store chains unveiled a new PSA campaign that encourages teens to ‘Stop. Think. Wait.’

Walgreens and Chicago public schools — the nation’s third-largest school district — have teamed up to raise awareness about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections and risky sexual behavior among teens. Currently, Chicago ranks 1st and 2nd, respectively, for the highest rates of gonorrhea and Chlamydia in the country for youth between the ages 15 to 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.

“CPS is committed to reducing the high rates and numbers of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies among adolescents,” said Ira Rounsaville, CPS Office of Specialized Services’ coordinated school health specialist. “We have increased the quality, availability and effectiveness of educational programs and services designed to prevent disease, improve health and increase the quality of life by addressing barriers to learning.”

Walgreens’ director of community affairs John Gremer and Rounsaville 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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