New York: Onondaga County Turns to Facebook and Billboards to Fight HIV and STDs Among Young People
April 15, 2011
Onondaga County young people are the focus of a new social marketing campaign against STDs including HIV. The initiative was announced by county Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow on Wednesday at Henninger High School.
Morrow said the campaign was triggered by a spike in HIV cases among males age 25 and younger in 2010. HIV is a "life sentence," she said. "It may be treatable, but it's not curable."
"One decision can change the rest of your life. It can give you an STD, it can give you HIV, you can get pregnant or get someone pregnant. There are far too many youth engaging in unprotected sex," Morrow told news conference attendees.
A central element of the campaign is the "One Decision" Facebook page; there, youths are encouraged to post about a decision they made to take responsibility for their sexual health.
"It could be when you got tested or made a decision to use condoms. What did it take for you to take charge of your sexual health?" said the Rev. Bernard Alex, director of health services for the Southwest Community Center. Because youths of color are disproportionately affected, the campaign targets them in particular, he said.
Between 2006 and last year, 41 new HIV cases were diagnosed in county youths ages 13 to 24. Preliminary 2010 data indicate the county logged 661 STD cases among people ages 13 to 25, of whom approximately 80 percent were black.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/OneDecision.
04.13.2011; James T. Mulder
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