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 diseases (STDs) and HIV, as well as unintended pregnancy. While this population makes up about 15% of the population in New York State, nearly two out of every three reported STDs are in this age group.  The AIDS Institute’s Bureau of Sexual Health & 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.  The campaign has since experimented with various social media channels, including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  The campaign is actively running on Facebook at www.facebook.com/takecontrol.

Take Control! promotes positive sexual health, including topics such as healthy relationships, talking with partners and health care providers about sexual health, abstinence, reducing risk of STDs, HIV and unplanned pregnancy, supporting friends and peers, and recognizing signs of unhealthy relationships.

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 individual’s community; and
  • Increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of STDs, HIV and unintended pregnancy and methods to reduce risk.

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 on topics similar to the campaign topics above.
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 addition to the social media campaign and website, several printed infographics have been developed to support provider, teacher and community-based sexual health education efforts.  There are 8” x 5.5” postcards available on the NYSDOH STD Educational Materials page: http://www.health.ny.gov/forms/order_forms/std_materials.htm


Travis O'Donnell
Bureau of Sexual Health & Epidemiology
(518) 474-3598