Youth Feed

April 19, 2011


April is STD Awareness Month. Did you GYT?

By Rachel Kachur, MPH, Health Communication Specialist, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Encouraging the Development of Statewide HIV/AIDS Plans

April is STD Awareness Month.  Every year there are over 19 million new cases of STDs in the United States (CDC). Half of these new STD infections occur among young people ages 15 to 24 even though this age group makes up only 25% of the sexually active population. There are many negative outcomes of having an STD, including an increased risk for HIV infection. 

One way to make a difference during STD Awareness Month is to promote messages provided by GYT: Get Yourself Tested Exit Disclaimer. This sexual health campaign seeks to make testing for and talking about STDs routine among sexually active 15 – 25 year olds. Launched in 2009,  the campaign is a multi-media, youth-focused campaign developed in response to the 2008 data that one in four teens has an STD (Forhan et al., 2009).

Since its launch, GYT has reached well over one million people. The GYT partnership team,  which includes CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, MTV networks, the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, and Planned Parenthood of America, has worked diligently to make it easy for both youth and those that serve youth to get involved with the campaign.

Here how you can access GYT resources:

  • Visit the campaign’s refreshed, updated website Exit Disclaimer. From there, you can download customizable posters, button, t-shirts and more, share social media elements, and upload pictures and success stories.
  • If you provide health services, visit the  website’s provider-specific page Exit Disclaimer. It contains resources and materials specifically for health care providers, such as guides on taking sexual histories and how to create a teen-friendly clinic.
  • You can also promote information specific to Chlamydia using the Chlamydia-specific microsite Exit Disclaimer. The interactive site answers frequently asked questions about Chlamydia.
  • To stay updated with current GYT events and news, become a fan of the GYT Facebook page Exit Disclaimer. The GYT Twitter Exit Disclaimer account allows for further dissemination of messages, promotes resources, and provides an easy way for other to share or “re-tweet” GYT messages.
  • A final aspect of the GYTNOW campaign is its short message service (SMS) texting code.  By texting a zip code to GYTNOW (498669), users will receive the names and phone numbers of nearby STD/HIV testing centers.

We encourage everyone to get involved with GYT – youth, CBOs, health care providers, health departments – anyone who supports empowering youth with the information and tools they need to make good health decisions.  It is easy to get involved with GYT!

For more information, go to Exit Disclaimer.

April 12, 2011


Youth, Mobile, and Health at Sex::Tech 2011

By Mindy Nichamin, New Media Coordinator


Earlier this month, I attended Sex::Tech 2011 Exit Disclaimer in San Francisco, the fourth annual conference on technology, youth, and sexual health. At the conference, I heard from a range of experts - sexual health educators, researchers, technology developers, parents, and of course, youth and young adults. During her welcome presentation Exit Disclaimer on Day 1, Sex::Tech founder Deb Levine emphasized that when it comes to reaching young people with sexual health information, there are four key points to consider:

  • Optimize search - young people need the right answers to be accessible
  • Think push, don't pull - deliver messages where youth already are and when they want it
  • Talk to, not at, youth - they're smart - deliver and engage in meaningful (and even humorous) conversations
  • Keep your head in the (computer) cloud - we have to be ubiquitous and "transform sex-ed from boring to brand"

These points echo what we heard from others presenters at Sex::Tech and what AIDS service providers have told us before - that youth want to access health information quickly and easily, especially when it comes to HIV. This could be anything from learning what HIV is, to answering a question about how it's transmitted, to finding an HIV testing site nearby. And youth can (and do!) do this with cell phones. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer, 75% of teens have a mobile phone Exit Disclaimer, 54% of teens send texts every day Exit Disclaimer, and even 84% of teens sleep with their phones on or next to their bed Exit Disclaimer. If we start to think about youth as consumers who are seeking out the product they want, we have to reach the medium where they are, and this is increasingly becoming mobile.

Continue reading "Youth, Mobile, and Health at Sex::Tech 2011" »

March 09, 2011


HHS Launches New Website:

By Miguel Gomez, Director

Today, HHS launches a new website called The site provides information from government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying. It also provides information on finding help if you, or someone you know, is being bullied.

In October 2010, we posted twice on the subject of bullying and teen suicide: HHS Secretary Addresses Bullying and Teen Suicide and The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy on Bullying and Teen Suicide. As we noted in those earlier posts, for the HIV community, the issues of bullying and suicide and their effects on young people’s well-being and risk behaviors are critically important.

Help us save lives and protect health by visiting and learning more.

January 25, 2011


2011 NHPC: Connecting HIV Prevention Professionals through Social Media

By Bob Kohmescher, 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference Coordinator, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

2011 HIV Prevention Conference

The 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) Exit Disclaimer will be held in Atlanta, August 14-17. The conference will contribute to achieving the three major goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and these goals are reflected in the conference theme “The Urgency of Now: Reduce incidence. Improve access. Promote equity.” We want you to share your significant work in HIV prevention. We encourage you to submit an abstract Exit Disclaimer to the conference (deadline, February 4, 2011).

As we plan for the conference, we are looking at the next generation of HIV prevention leaders for inspiration on new methods of reaching at-risk populations and youth where they receive messages. Exploring the possibilities of social media allows prevention partners to learn from these innovative young public health professionals and help learn how to bridge a gap in prevention education and communication. This is particularly important as we look for the best ways to achieve the goals of the National Strategy.

Social media prevention campaigns are fast becoming a powerful channel to reach young consumers of health information, namely in the way of peer-to-peer online education. For example, through the Talk HIV Exit Disclaimer phase of the Act Against AIDS Exit Disclaimer campaign, CDC is leveraging social media to encourage open and honest conversations about HIV/AIDS and drive discussion both online and offline. 

During this past year, we have seen how social media has also played an integral role in helping new and experienced HIV prevention professionals engage in pivotal discussions on HIV prevention, share the latest resources, and network with colleagues at conferences. During the 2011 NHPC Exit Disclaimer, we hope to engage attendees to join in the discussions throughout the conference and share their experiences with their colleagues and the next generation of HIV prevention leaders. We encourage all professionals to take their years of experience in working with HIV, whether just a few years or 30, and share it with their colleagues and a new set of public health professionals working to find new ways to educate people about the disease.

This year’s NHPC Exit Disclaimer will highlight the work of these young innovators in HIV research, prevention, and/or policy Exit Disclaimer to encourage their continued contribution to the field of HIV prevention. To be considered for this recognition, new researchers should be under 30 years old and are required to submit a completed Sponsored Participant Application Exit Disclaimer by the abstract submission deadline of February 4, 2011.

You can follow the conference on Twitter at Exit Disclaimer for important conference reminders and news. Search Twitter using hashtag #2011NHPC to follow the conversations about the conference and include the hashtag in all of your conference-related tweets. note: Speaking of conferences, the International AIDS Society recently released its report on the 2010 International AIDS Conference Exit Disclaimer in Vienna. Check out page 22 to read about how they used (and evaluated) social media at the conference.

December 22, 2010


ONAP Staff: It Gets Better

By Gregorio Millett, M.P.H., Senior Policy Advisor, Office of National AIDS Policy (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

Yesterday several White House staff posted a blog and video as part of the ‘It Gets Better‘ project. ‘It Gets Better’ is a national campaign targeting LGBT youth that started in the wake of several high profile suicides. The campaign encourages LGBT youth who may be the subject of discrimination, scorn or ostracization to look beyond their current circumstances and realize that that a bright future lies ahead.  ONAP Director Jeffrey Crowley and I both participated in the video.



If you’re a young person who’s been bullied or harassed by your peers, or you’re a parent or teacher who knows a young person being bullied or harassed, here are a few resources that can help you:

The Trevor Project Exit Disclaimer
The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LBGTQ youth by providing resources and a nationwide, 24 hour hotline.  If you are considering suicide or need help, call: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). Exit Disclaimer is a project of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP) focused on providing tools and resources for youth, parents, teachers and mental health providers to prevent and address bullying. 

It Gets Better Project Exit Disclaimer
President Obama's video and Vice President Biden’s video are just a couple of the thousands of videos submitted by people across the country to inspire and encourage LGBT youth who are struggling. 

You can watch more videos at Exit Disclaimer.

For even more information and resources visit or call:


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