DES MOINES, Iowa – The Polk County Health Department is using social media platforms to educate teens and young adults about sex education.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, sexually transmitted disease diagnoses like gonorrhea rose 28.3 percent in 2018.
Polk County Health Department Public Information Officer Nola Aigner said STD cases have increased in teens and young adults over the last few years.
The Polk County Health Department is using Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Podcasts to educate 12 to 18-year-olds about sexual health topics. The podcasts are available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher.
“We know that this is an age range that has a lot of misguided information. They have a lot of misconceptions about sexual health, STDs and pregnancies that are not correct. We really wanted to get to them at a way that is innovated, but also really using the social media tools that they use,” Aigner said.
The video and podcasts are free and can be viewed by anyone. Some topics discussed include protection, risk factors, LGBTQ, and STDs.
Aigner said a video or podcast is released once every-other-week. The channel is called “Sex n’ Stuff.”
“The more information, the more accurate information we can provide in teens, young adults and adults. Hopefully they will be making smart decisions when it comes to STD testing, reducing their number of partners and everything else that goes with sexual health,” Aigner said.
Aigner said the end goal is to reduce all cases of STDs and break the stigma when it comes to talking about sex education.
As of April 26th there have been 1,260 chlamydia cases, 497 gonorrhea cases, 50 syphilis cases and 11 cases of HIV diagnosed in the county in 2019, according to the Polk County Health Department.