Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention: What Can You Do?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15-24 year olds account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year.i That’s 10 million STDs for a segment of the population that only accounts for 27% of all sexually active people.ii In addition, racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by STDs and tend to have higher rates than Caucasian populations,iii and young people are at a greater risk of acquiring a STD than older people due to a mixture of biology, behaviors, and culture.iv While the number of high school students who have ever had sex and the number of high school students with four or more partners has declined, condom use has also decreased. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, between 2003 and 2015, the percentage of sexually active high school students who used a condom at last sex decreased from 63% to 56.9%.v
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a Personal Responsibility Education Innovative Strategies (PREIS) grantee, has taken an innovative approach to focusing on STD/HIV prevention among youth. As part of the sustainability plan for their PREIS grant, Plain Talk, they developed Real Rap Philly Visit disclaimer page , a behavioral based sex-positive HIV, STD, and teen pregnancy prevention campaign. This campaign features a mobile-friendly website and accompanying communications campaign (print and social media) that was youth-inspired and designed to connect young people to medically accurate information and youth-friendly services. PHMC was very intentional in creating a long-lasting, low cost resource for the community they have served since 2010 through their Plain Talk program. Real Rap Philly launched in September 2016 and will serve the entire Philadelphia community.
Are you looking for other ideas to help young people in your communities understand how to prevent STDs? Here are a few recommendations and resources.
- Identify a curriculum that focuses on STD/HIV prevention. Louisiana PREP implements Sisters Informing, Healing, Living and Empowering (SIHLE) program throughout the state.
- Supplement curriculum with additional resources. Family and Youth Services Bureau’s latest infographic — The Real Deal about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Visit disclaimer page — was created for grantees to put on display and handout to young people. This infographic provides key STD facts and data; an overview of ways to prevent STDs; and resources for more information.
- Connect young people to engaging resources.
- Know the Facts First Visit disclaimer page — A new public health awareness campaign from the Office of Women’s Health to increase awareness of sexual health, sexually transmitted infections, and how to prevent STIs among girls ages 13-19 years.
- Get Tested Visit disclaimer page — This CDC website allows you to enter your zip code to find free, fast, and confidential testing locations and to find out what STD tests you might need.
- GYT: Get Yourself Tested Visit disclaimer page — GYT is a youthful, empowering campaign to encourage young people to get tested and treated for STDs and HIV. Materials Visit disclaimer page are available for free via download or mail.
- ICYC: In Case You’re Curious — ICYC is a text message line that answers young people’s questions about sex health. In addition, they post questions and answers on Instagram Visit disclaimer page and have created videos about how to use male condoms Visit disclaimer page , female condoms Visit disclaimer page and sexually transmitted infections Visit disclaimer page (another term for STDs).
ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Sexually Transmitted Disease Among Young Americans infographic. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/products/youth-sti-infographic.pdf Visit disclaimer page .
iii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). STDs in Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/minorities.htm
v Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in the Prevalence of Sexual Behaviors and HIV Testing National YRBS: 1991—2015. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/trends/2015_us_sexual_t... Visit disclaimer page .