Colorado sexual health campaign Beforeplay.org celebrates two-year anniversary
A Colorado public health campaign targeting 18- to 29-year-olds is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month.
Beforeplay.org provides information about contraception, pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and overall well-being. With more than 2.5 million page views to date, on both the English and Spanish versions of the website, the Beforeplay campaign is working to change the conversation about sexual health.
Greta Klingler, family planning supervisor at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said Beforeplay.org has been working in Summit County on and off during the last two years. Across the state, the group hosts events and advertises while trying not to oversaturate any community, she said.
“We do outreach at community events, like the X Games and Dew Tour,” she said. “We want to engage in conversations about pregnancy planning and sexual health.”
Since launching in February 2012, hundreds of volunteers have worked for the outreach team to distribute materials at events and college campuses, cultivating conversations about sexual-health issues.
“The goal was to make it easier for people to find accurate information that wasn’t too medical, but reliable, and give them the tools to have those important conversations,” Klingler said.
Among Coloradans in the target age group, nearly 50 percent of pregnancies are unintended, and one in four people have an STD, Beforeplay reports. The Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy and the Department of Public Health and Environment created the public outreach campaign to help address those issues.
The goal is really to normalize sexual-health conversations, Klingler said. The organization also has an anonymous text line, which answers sexual-health questions.
In a prepared statement, Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the Department of Public Health and Environment, said unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are significant threats to the health of young Coloradans.
“Beforeplay.org is making it easier for young people to get reliable information and talk to their friends and family about birth control, pregnancy planning and protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases,” he said.
Beforeplay.org has resources for women and men on how to ensure positive sexual health and welfare, while encouraging conversations about these important decisions.
Klingler said the organization has secured funding through the end of 2014 and is working to expand funding into the future.
She said one challenge during the last two years was how to measure the group’s impact.
“We’re seeing a lot of engagement, but it takes a long time to get data on unintended pregnancies and STD infections, and to link that back to this campaign is challenging because there are other efforts going on too,” she said.
Recently, the group has also been working to help people understand what benefits they have access to under the new Affordable Care Act. Affordable birth control and other sexual services are becoming more accessible, as these prevention services are covered at no additional charge in new health plans.
For more information, visit http://www.beforeplay.org.
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