YES Means TEST
Chlamydia is the STD most commonly reported to CDC—about 1.6 million cases in 2020. Young women ages 15-24 account for nearly half of these cases. Yet, chlamydia and gonorrhea frequently have no symptoms. Without diagnosis and treatment, they can cause serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Given the potential health problems CDC recommends annual testing for sexually active women under 25.
YES Means TEST is an ASHA public awareness campaign that addresses the need for STD testing among young people under age 25. We aim to reduce the stigma around STD tests. YES Means YES has become a sexual empowerment movement. It’s about the right to make your own choices about sex—and have those choices respected. The YES Means TEST campaign aligns with that movement, empowering people who say “yes” to sex with an understanding of the rights and responsibilities that choice carries. YES Means TEST helps steer the conversation: “Yes” to sex, means “Yes” to getting tested.
A Social Media Intervention: Addressing Misinformation and Misdiagnoses on Reddit
Because the YES Means TEST campaign is aimed at a young audience, we have often used social media as a means to reach that audience with our messages. In 2020, following a report in JAMA that thousands of individuals were turning to the social media platform Reddit to engage in anonymous two-way conversations and crowdsource STD diagnoses, we decided to try some outreach there.
On September 18, 2020, ASHA hosted an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on r/IAmA, a subreddit for question-and-answer interviews offering real-time engagement for users. User questions were answered by Ina Park, MD, and Shan Boodram, a certified sexologist.
The presentation below, presented at the 2022 STD Prevention Conference on September 20, 2022, outlines the development of this activity and its outcomes. One lesson learned—the Reddit audience is highly engaged and eager to learn more about STDs from reliable sources.
Bringing YES Means TEST to Your Campus, Clinic, or Office
The approach of YES Means TEST is to make the STD conversation NBD (or no big deal) in a way that is authentic and engaging to teens and young adults. Using attention-grabbing statistics as conversation starters, the campaign educates young people on compelling reasons to get tested and drives them to take action.
You can download, print and share YES Means TEST materials in your waiting room, at your health center, or around campus, to raise awareness about the need for STD testing and advance exam room conversations with healthcare providers.