Press Releases

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Media campaign to reduce sexually-transmitted infections among youth launched by Region

On-line resources, posters, radio advertisements and in-theatre video advises sexually-active teens to use condoms

A multi-media campaign designed to reduce the rate of sexually-transmitted infections among youth by encouraging them to use condoms, was launched today by the Winnipeg Health Region’s Public and Population Health Program.

“Winnipeg has high rates of Chlamydia, and youth and young adults are the age group with the highest rate of infection,” Dr. Michael Routledge, WRHA Medical Director of Public Health said.

Because many of those infected with the disease may have mild or absent symptoms, Chlamydia can go undiagnosed for years, causing serious damage including infertility. It can also be passed on to infants during child birth.

“The fact is that for those who choose to be sexually active, condoms are the best form of protection against STIs,” he said. “Youth need to know if they are going to be sexually active, they need to use condoms.”

Research indicates that youth are having sex earlier. About 25% of those in Grade 9 report being sexually active, a number that doubles by the time teens are in Grade 11.

The campaign features Winnipeg students and is designed to educate youth about the importance of using condoms all the time and with every partner. The campaign includes a website, a social media component and uses frank language, with a sense of humour to make its point. The campaign's theme: “Heads Up? Use a condom”, accompanied by an appealing cartoon condom character - is designed to appeal to the teenage population.

“We think this campaign will get the attention of young people and underscores, very plainly, the need to use condoms” Dr. Catherine Cook, WRHA Vice President responsible for Population and Public Health, said. “It is important to recognize that some youth are engaging in sexual activity, and to empower them by providing information and encouraging discussion with friends and family, so that they know how to protect themselves.”

For more information please contact:

Kathryn McBurney
Media Relations
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Tel: (204) 926-7868
Cell: (204) 782-2898

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