In response to increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Boston youth, health officials are introducing a safer-sex campaign incorporating teen-friendly modes of communication such as Facebook, YouTube and cable channels, The Boston Globe reports.
In 2007, according to the article, 1,383 Bostonians between 15 and 19 years old tested positive for chlamydia, a 70 percent increase since 1999. The rate of infection in Boston overall is more than two times the national average.
“These chlamydia cases and gonorrhea cases, they’re our future HIV cases unless we intervene,” said Anita Barry, MD, top disease specialist at the Boston Public Health Commission. Both infections increase the risk of contracting HIV.
According to the article, Boston’s health agency has invested $100,000 in the campaign, which includes a video of teenagers in a classroom learning about condom usage and being screened for STIs. The clip, viewable below, was chosen from 10 contest submissions and will air on MTV, FX and BET.
In addition, teenagers can use Facebook to anonymously post questions about sexual health and have them answered by disease experts. YouTube will feature campaign-related videos. And groups of young people will tour the city, performing street theater about the perils of STIs.