Sexually transmitted infections account for high numbers of deaths and infections among the youth. A safe sex campaign can be an important initiative to reduce sexually transmitted infections. This essay discusses unprotected sex among teenagers as a public health issue that promulgates the spread of STDs. A large number of sexually active youths are engaging in unsafe sex and contributing to the rates of the newly reported STD cases. However, a safe sex campaign may suffer from social stigmatization. Therefore, the public health campaigners must use culturally sensitive materials and ethical approaches.
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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) pose challenges to the global healthcare systems. According to Jemmott, Jemmott, Fong, and Morales (2010), millions of youths engage in unprotected sex because they are unaware about the devastating effects of STDs. The global statistics of STDs reveal that youths of 15 to 24 years account for the largest number of the individuals that present new cases of STDs (Chinsembu, 2009). STD campaigns are vital, but often challenging. This essay examines an STD public-health campaign against unprotected sex.
An STD Public Health Concern (Unprotected Sex)
A growing concern among the health care practitioners is the increasing cases of STDs that associate with unprotected sex. Most youths are reckless in dealing with their premarital affairs, especially the sexual issues (Saewyc, Barney, Clark, & Brunanski, 2013). Youths are sexually active and they often engage in numerous sexual affairs. In the United States, over 6% of the high school youngsters engage in sexual intercourse while below 15 years, while 34% of the university students practice anal, vaginal, and oral sex (Jemmott et al., 2010).
Why Unprotected Sex Needs a Public Health Concern
STDs are sexually transmitted infections that spread through sexual contact. Unsafe sex often spreads deadly sexual infections (Chinsembu, 2009). An increase in the number of youths with STDs is distressing for the healthcare systems and for the entire nation of the United States. According to Jemmott et al. (2010), although the American youths with ages that range from15-24 contribute to only 25% of the sexually dynamic population, this age group accounts for almost a half of the emerging STD cases, with a high transmission rate of 72%.
A Potential Challenge in the Campaign
STDs are normally embarrassing infections among the citizens. Very few STD victims feel free to take tests or engage in public STD campaigns (Saewyc et al., 2013). This is because they fear to disclose their health statuses. Hence, the youth-campaign concerning safe sex may face a problem of social stigmatization. Youths are very cautious about disclosing their health statuses to their colleagues, family or to the health counsellors (Samkange-Zeeb, Spallek, & Zeeb, 2011). In this campaign, youths may fear to pass safe sex information or attend the campaign.
Ways to Address the Campaign Challenge
A health campaign on sensitive and ethically challenging issues like safe sex practices often requires effective marketing approaches and an understanding of the public relations and principles (Maibach, Abroms, Marosits, 2007). The campaigners will develop culturally sensitive campaign materials and use the most ethical campaign techniques. The campaign team will encourage the formation of community partnerships among the youths, who understand each other well, encourage social friendliness among the youths, and use friendly and youthful speeches to attract the youths.
Poor sexual behaviours such as unprotected sexual intercourses often predispose the youth to deadly STDs. A public health campaign about safe sex practices among the youths can be an effective way to reduce the spread and severity of the STDs. Setting a public health campaign about a sensitive and an ethically challenging issue, such as unprotected sex and its contribution to STDs, requires competence in the campaign marketing. Using culturally sensitive materials and ethical approaches such as appropriate speeches may assist to reduce nonattendance and stigmatization among the victims.
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Chinsembu, K. (2009). Sexually Transmitted Infections in Adolescents. The Open Infectious Diseases Journal, 3(1), 107-117.
Jemmott, J., Jemmott, L., Fong, G., & Morales, K. (2010). Effectiveness of an HIV/STD Risk-Reduction Intervention for Adolescents When Implemented by Community-Based Organizations: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Public Health, 100(4), 720-726.
Maibach, E., Abroms, C., & Marosits, M. (2007). Communication and marketing as tools to cultivate the public’s health: a proposed “people and places” framework. BMC Public Health, 7(88), 1-15.
Saewyc, E., Barney, L., Clark, T., & Brunanski, D. (2013). Enacted Stigma and HIV Risk Behaviours among Sexual Minority Indigenous Youth in Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 11(3), 411-420.
Samkange-Zeeb, F., & Spallek, L., & Zeeb, J. (2011). Awareness and knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among school-going adolescents in Europe: a systematic review of published literature. BMC Public Health, 11(2), 7-27.