Outreach and Health Promotion Campaigns
Take Control! Adolescent Sexual Health Promotion Campaign
Adolescents and young adults (age 15 to 24 years) in New York State are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections and HIV, as well as unintended pregnancy. Sixty-six percent (66%) of reported Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases in 2013 were reported among this age group, which comprises only 14% of the New York State (excluding New York City) population. The AIDS Institute’s Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology, in collaboration with the Department’s Division of Family Health, initiated the “Take Control!” adolescent sexual health media campaign in April 2010 to provide New York State-specific resources and age appropriate information to promote positive sexual health. Offering condoms, HIV and STD information, partner communications and talking with a trusted adult, Take Control! supports and encourages responsible sexual health choices including delaying sexual intercourse.
The primary objectives of the initiative are to:
- provide New York State adolescents with medically accurate and age appropriate information to promote positive sexual health and reduce risky sexual decision making;
- provide information on local resources available to teens and young adults in New York State;
- encourage open and honest communication with partners as well as trusted role models in the user’s community; and
- increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of sexually transmitted disease, HIV and unintended pregnancy and methods to reduce risk of these outcomes.
The Take Control! campaign includes a website developed in collaboration with the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence at Cornell University. This site (www.nysyouth.net/sexual_health) provides accessible and appropriate information related to:
- sexually transmitted diseases including HIV;
- hormonal birth control;
- male and female condoms and dental dams;
- emergency contraception; and
- reducing risky sexual behaviors.
New York State-specific resources are provided to encourage users to reach out to locally available public health programs such as STD and HIV testing, pregnancy prevention, rape crisis programs and other resources that adolescents may need.
In April 2011, the Take Control! campaign was expanded to include a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/takecontrol. This page provides an easy-to-use forum for users to learn sexual health information as well as discuss and share their opinions on a variety of age-appropriate topics. The ongoing campaign uses visual elements, including a series of infographics, to promote and emphasize key messages and behaviors. As resources allow, a variety of traditional and web/mobile media are used to reach the target audience, providing youth-centered information in a variety of formats.
Public Health Educator
Bureau of STD Prevention and Epidemiology