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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
COLORADO: Health Department Aims to Get People Talking About Sexual Health

By Joyce Davis

November 18, 2013

The Reporter-Herald recently reported that 500,000 different people have visited the Beforeplay campaign Web site during the first two years of the sexual health campaign, and Beforeplay had 15,000 Facebook “likes.”

The Beforeplay campaign, launched by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDHE) and funded solely by the Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies, was a statewide effort to “normalize conversation” around family planning, birth control, and sexual health among young adults ages 18–29. State data indicated more than 40 percent of unintended pregnancies in Colorado occurred among young adults. CDHE identified preventing STDs and reducing unintended pregnancies as two of Colorado’s 10 “winnable” public health battles. The Beforeplay campaign, based on personal interviews, online programs, and focus groups with urban and rural Coloradans, imparted the messages that knowledge was power and having control over choices resulted in a happier future. Formative research indicated that young people preferred a lighthearted, nonjudgmental approach and did not want information to come from a pharmaceutical company or other company promoting a specific product.

The campaign approach offered a range of questions and suggestions for introducing uncomfortable topics in conversations with partners, family members, doctors, and friends. Materials were age-appropriate and suggested ways to pay for family planning services. Beforeplay features included “Just Talk About It”/Conversation Starters, birth control method selector, and videos and blogs from real Coloradans and medical professionals. CDHE and the Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies have not reported outcome data yet, but Greta Klingler, CDHE’s family planning supervisor, emphasized that the campaign had grown and had connected with both men and women.

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