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HIV/AIDS education for teens booked into Broward jail

Broward Sheriff's Office news release:

BSO and C2P Talk HIV For Troubled Teens

Boys and girls being processed at BSO’s Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) will gain some valuable HIV/AIDS education and awareness material in the booking process thanks to a new Connect to Protect and BSO partnership.

The Connect to Protect, or C2P, program for the JAC was developed in cooperation with the Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center in light of alarming statistics regarding youngsters and HIV. According to the CDTC, people under the age of 25 account for half of all new HIV infections and in Florida AIDS-related illness are the ninth leading cause of death for teenagers 15 to 19 years old. It’s the fifth leading cause of death for all people 20-24 years old. The mission: curtail the crisis by targeting the 12 to 24 age group.

“I am committed to do anything I can to educate our children on the dangers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and advise them of the resource assistance on testing and counseling that is available,” Sheriff Al Lamberti said. “Our children are our most precious commodity and our greatest natural resource. They are our leaders of tomorrow. We owe it to them and to ourselves. All of humanity suffers when our children are in danger.”

Young people brought to the JAC because of criminal behavior are routinely asked some personal questions as part of the screening process, and now for the first time, certain HIV/AIDS pertinent information will be gleaned and collected as well. Also, pamphlets and personal advice are handed out to the detainees. Whenever necessary, the child will also be referred for counseling and testing.

“This has been made possible through a coalition of people committed to HIV prevention,” Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center Coordinator Jessica Roy said. “The program will have an impact on high risk youngsters in our community and with awareness they’ll be better able to protect themselves.”

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