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State health boss backs Douglas County’s STD plan

By   /   December 14, 2012  /   5 Comments

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

The state’s health boss is defending Douglas County’s plan allowing minors to test themselves for sexually transmitted diseases without their parents OK.

“It’s understood that some people will not get testing or treatment without confidentiality,” Dr. Joann Schaefer tells Nebraska Watchdog.

The Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health under Republican Gov. Dave Heineman adds, “Dr. Pour is looking for an approach to address a long-standing problem in Douglas County.”

BACKS CONTROVERSIAL PLAN: Joann Schaefer, State’s Chief Medical Officer

Schaefer’s comments echo those of Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour who, along with Schaefer, has noted that no states—including Nebraska—require parental consent when it comes to stemming STD’s.

“Of course when dealing with youth, they are encouraged to talk to a parent or a trusted adult,” says Schaefer.

In addition to the testing Pour tells Nebraska Watchdog that treatment through the county would be available at low or no cost to those who test positive.

Last week, Nebraska Watchdog first reported on a stormy county health meeting where Omaha’s extremely high rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea were the targets of a now controversial plan.

At the meeting, Pour announced an $88,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The money — private funds, not tax dollars — would buy test kits allowing young people to test themselves for STDs without telling their parents.

One woman in the audience appeared critical of the “don’t tell your parents” policy.

Her questions irritated County Commissioner Mike Boyle, who got into a shouting match with the woman. Both repeatedly called each other “ignorant” and the woman dropped an “f” bomb.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]

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Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Franklyn Fahrkwhar

    It is unfortunate and a sad commentary on ultra-conservative culture that protecting young people from lifelong and sometimes deadly health issues is viewed by some as “controversial.”

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Thank goodness saner minds are prevailing on this issue. I would hate to see the American Taliban (far-right religious/Tea Party wackos) have their way with yet another issue and push this country farther back into the Dark Ages.

  • racefish

    Great. So if these kids who tested positive go into a doctor’s office or hospital, the tests will come back positive there too and what will the kids tell their parents then? Does anyone understand exactly how asinine this is? Where has the common sense gone on the Left?
    What if a sibling comes up with an STD and has never had sexual contact with anyone. How will that be explained? What happens in school if another pupil is infected? Who has liability?

    So far, Nebraska has no law covering these situations, nor advising the parent of a problem. Someone needs to address the situation and quickly before all control is wrested from parental control.


  • Joan

    Racefish…I just went to get my glasses, I can’t belive I am reading you, an adult have said this. ” What if a sibling comes up with an STD and has never had sexual contact with anyone.” YOU CAN’T GET AN STD WITHOUT PHYSICAL CONTACT! That is an old wives tail you can get it from the water fountain. Dear God man enroll in a sex ed class for your familys sake and the communities sake.

  • Mrs. V.

    I find it extremely troubling that government officials are trying to take control over children’s lives and teach them to deceive their parents. Who is raising these kids? Parents. They are responsible for to take care of their children no matter what choices their children have made. Parents should not be excluded from the picture. Other medical situations require a parent’s signature. It is alarming that parents’ rights and responsibilities are now at stake, as well as the well-being of their children.