- NYC Health + Hospitals has launched a new public awareness campaign to promote sexual health and reproductive education.
- The campaign is designed to promote healthcare services by New Yorkers aged 12 to 21 years old.
- On social media, "provocative emojis" will be used through news feeds to reach up to 2.4 million New York adolescents in the next three months.
The "provocative emojis" include the eggplant and peach emojis. As the campaign is targeted to adolescents, the promoters can skip over the whole "describing what an eggplant emoji means" portion of a conversation and allow an interested individuals to begin a confidential conversation about sexual health and reproduction.
"Young people have particular health care requirements and NYC Health + Hospitals offers the services young people need in a confidential and non-judgmental environment," said Dr. Ram Raju, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals said in a prepared statement. "Whether it's birth control, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception or depression screening, the public health system has affordable services in local community health centers, where we speak your language, understand your culture and respect your privacy."'
In 2015 at NYC Health + Hospitals, about 15,000 adolescents were diagnosed with depression, more than 38,000 were tested for STDs, 30,000 were tested for pregnancy and some 2,400 gave birth.
The health system's strategy fits into the larger context the need of raising sexual health awareness among adolescents.
A report earlier this year from the CDC stated that most sexually active adolescents don't get HIV tests, Reuters reported in January. The results were reported in the journal Pediatrics, noting only 22% of high school students and 33% of young adults (18-24 years old) who are sexually active reported being tested at least once for HIV.
In May, the World Health Organization reiterated that one of the sustainable development goals (SDG) adopted by world leaders at the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit was that by 2030 the world should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs.
In addition to the social media campaign and the new website, the YouthHealth campaign includes posters, brochures, wallet-size cards with the website address, and ad panels that will be posted in city hospitals. Community-based organizations near NYC Health + Hospitals health centers are partnering with the system to distribute the materials. Google search ads will also direct people searching for services to the website.