During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers found there was less STI testing happening, but more cases found
To promote awareness of HIV and STI prevention, testing and treatment services, AHF is launching ‘Sexually Risky?’ a new billboard and ad campaign encouraging at-risk individuals to get tested, treated and into care, if needed
LOS ANGELES (October 20, 2021) Despite pandemic-related lockdowns over the past 20 months limiting in-person contact and isolating many people, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), found notable increases in STI incidence in its free STI and HIV testing programs. In response, AHF is launching “Sexually Risky?”, a new nationwide awareness and advocacy ad campaign to encourage sexually active and/or potentially at-risk people to get tested for STIs, including HIV.
The campaign poses an otherwise delicate question to viewers with those two simple words. The accompanying artwork features a lone hand casting a pair of bright red dice against a stark black background. “Sexually Risky?” begins posting this week in 30 cities in 15 states across the country where AHF provides services. It will appear in both English and Spanish as billboards, transit ads, online digital ads and in social media posts as well as in print publications in Los Angeles, South Florida and Washington, DC. Beyond the two-word headline, the only other text on the artwork drives to one of two different AHF websites: www.freeSTDCheck.org or www.freeHIVtest.net, which offer AHF testing and treatment locales.
AHF is not alone in noting an increase in STIs. In a July 2021 post, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reported ‘Research Finds Less STI Testing, More Cases During Pandemic.’ The news post cited an American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) study that evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on testing for common STIs, “Specifically, changes … measured in chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and case detection among patients aged 14–49 years during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced many jurisdictions to redeploy health workers from STI and HIV prevention programs to COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs,” said Whitney Engeran Cordova, Vice President of AHF’s Public Health Division. “Unfortunately, while STI testing decreased, incidence of STIs has increased. Our ‘Sexually Risky?’ campaign poses a straightforward question to people that we hope they will ponder and prompt those who may have any doubts to get tested for STIs and/or HIV and get treated, if necessary.”