Health officials say condoms are the most effective weapon against STDs.
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Photo: Shutterstock / PurpleAnvil

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a scary new report revealing that for the fourth year in a row, STDs have been on the rise in the United States. The rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, in particular, are higher than ever, and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29 have been affected the most.

While an increase has been recorded across the country, STD rates in Montgomery County, MD, are the highest they've been in 10 years. So, to do their part in combating the issue, public high schools in the county have decided to provide students with free condoms as part of a broader strategy focused on STD prevention, screening, and treatment. (See: All The Ways a Planned Parenthood Collapse Could Hurt Women's Health)

"This is a public health crisis and while this mirrors national trends, it is critical that we provide prevention information so that adolescents and young adults can make safe decisions," said Travis Gayles M.D., the county health officer, in a press release.

The condom distribution program will debut in four high schools and will eventually expand to every high school in the county. Students will need to speak with a health professional before obtaining condoms. (Related: The Infuriating Reason Young Women Aren't Getting Tested for STDs)

"As stewards of children, we have a moral obligation to create an environment that meets not only their educational [needs] but their physical and medical needs as well," school board member Jill Ortman-Fouse and county council member George Leventhal wrote in a memo to other county officials.

The concept of providing condoms in high schools is nothing new. Several other school districts in Maryland, as well as those in Washington, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Colorado, and California, are already doing it. Together, they hope that more high schools across the country will follow suit and help raise better awareness about the issue.