Can We Get Teens to Get Tested for STD’s?

stethoscope-1-1080174-mAccording to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Adolescent Health, approximately 9.5 million adolescents and young adults are diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year. However, many STDs have no symptoms and can go undiagnosed for years, causing both complications later on in life as well as an increase in the risk of infection to others. The Center for Disease Control lists getting tested as a key step in preventing the spread of STD’s. An article published in the June issue of Social Marketing Quarterlyentitled “Reaching Youth With Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing: Building on Successes, Challenges and Lessons Learned From Local Get Yourself Tested Campaigns” documented the methods and results from nine local campaigns in support of the national “Get Yourself Tested” movement.

The abstract:

Nine programs were funded across eight states in the United States to customize, implement, and evaluate local campaigns in support of the national Get Yourself Tested (GYT) campaign. Each program promoted chlamydia SMQ_20_2_C1 & C5.inddscreening and treatment/referral to sexually active young women (aged 15–25 years) and their partners through accessible, free, or low-cost services. This article documents the strategies and outcomes of these local GYT campaigns, highlighting the diversity in which a national sexual health campaign is implemented at the local level and identifying challenges and successes. Nearly all (n = 7) programs involved target audience members in campaign development/implementation. Youth were linked to free or low-cost sexually transmitted disease testing through community centers, high schools and colleges, community and clinic events; online or text-based ordering of test kits; and community pickup locations. Sites used a combination of traditional and new media, on-the-ground activities, promotional products, and educational and social events to promote testing. With the exception of one site, all sites reported increases in the number of persons tested for chlamydia during campaign implementation, compared to baseline. Increases ranged from 0.5% to 128%. Successes included development of local partnerships, infrastructure, and capacity; use of peer leaders and involvement; and opportunities to explore new innovations. Challenges included use of social media/new technologies, timing constraints, limited organizational and evaluation capacity, and unforeseen delays/setbacks. Each of these issues is explored, along with lessons learned, with intent to inform future sexual health promotion efforts.

Click here to read “Reaching Youth With Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing: Building on Successes, Challenges and Lessons Learned From Local Get Yourself Tested Campaigns” for free from Social Marketing Quarterly. Want to know all the latest from Social Marketing Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

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