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Overview of Demonstration Sites

In 2007–2008, NACCHO awarded $15,000 to two local health departments (LHDs) to develop pilot interventions and strategic partnerships to address adolescent HIV, STIs (sexually transmitted infections), and/or teen pregnancy.  

Description of Programs

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)

The mission of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) is to protect and promote the health of all New Yorkers. The NYC DOHMH Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control provides clinical services at ten community sites as well as surveillance and epidemiologic investigations through which they monitor STD trends and implement treatment and prevention plans. In 2006, 41,236 cases of Chlamydia were reported, almost 30 percent of which were among 15–19 year olds. Also in 2006, 10,299 gonorrhea cases were reported, 22 percent occurring among 15–19 year-olds.

Through their demonstration site project the NYC DOHMH fostered the development of an Adolescent STD/HIV Coalition in order to enhance their existing Adolescent Initiative Project. The Adolescent STD/HIV Coalition was made up of a group of community partners focused on adolescents and reproductive health that had not previously converged to address HIV, STD, and/or unintended pregnancy among adolescents. The purpose of the Adolescent STD/HIV Coalition was to develop, pilot, and evaluate new strategies to raise awareness about sexual health issues and the importance of screening for HIV and other STIs, particularly among lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning youth. In addition to developing the city-wide coalition, NYC DOHMH piloted a project involving peer educators called “Cells and the City,” a computer-based graphic arts project that incorporated the language used in text messages to deliver health education messages. Adolescent peer educators developed their own multimedia prevention messages including where to go for HIV/STI testing. These messages were made available to adolescents through text messages on their cell phones, e-mail, and through popular adolescent social networking sites such as

Lessons Learned

  • Remember that HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention work is also behavioral strategy design and most single interventions will not work. 
  • Collaboration with multiple disciplines is necessary because teens and young adults need and benefit from the help of various specialized resources. 
  • Local communities, including LHDs, require funding for the creation of harm reduction approaches for the prevention of STDs, HIV, and pregnancy. 
  • Local communities, including LHDs, also require funding for mental health services since there appears to be a strong correlation between negative effect and risk taking behaviors.
  • It’s important to raise the awareness of and to educate public health providers and agencies on the effectiveness of communication strategies using new technology in reaching teens that do not access on-site resources or services.
Materials and Tools Developed

Cells in the City STD Educational Video

Video Evaluation Survey 

Faith-Based Organization Linkage Agreement

Adolescent Health Services Booklet 

Teen Sexual Health Facts Flyer

Riverside County Department of Public Health

Riverside County, California is home to more than two million residents, making Riverside County the fourth largest of fifty-eight counties in California. Adolescents in Riverside County, particularly African American females, are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In 2006, the incidence rate observed for Chlamydia infections among 15–19 year old adolescents was 827/100,000. Also in 2006, the rate of reported Chlamydia cases in African Americans per 100,000 was 515.7, more than three times that of whites (131.5) and about twice that of Hispanics (262.5).

Riverside County’s demonstration project included plans to incorporate a wider audience of adolescents at highest risk for HIV, STD, and unintended pregnancy as targets for prevention messaging. They planned to accomplish this by expanding partnerships with high-risk adolescents and nontraditional community-based organizations through the STD Community Collaborative Enhancement Program (SCCEP) partnership. The SCCEP was responsible for assisting with the distribution of the county-wide STD prevention message that was developed through an adolescent collaborative, and distributing this message to adolescents via public service announcements, podcasts, and direct health education interventions. Riverside County’s efforts were also designed to increase access to HIV and STD screening for adolescents in alternative schools and those residing in geographic areas with the highest adolescent STD morbidity. Through this initiative, Riverside County intended to improve its connections to a variety of community-based organizations and to adolescent populations at highest risk for infection.

Lessons Learned

  • Take the school year timeline and schedule of activities into consideration when planning and scheduling LHD STD activities. If partnerships reveal differences in ideas for youth education on sexuality, it is important to agree to disagree.
  • In order to be effective you must start where the community is and try to be flexible with your agenda and plans. It’s important that community-based organizations drive community-oriented activities, such as message dissemination to ensure buy-in from their organizations and the community members.
  • Increased usage of Internet activities provide you with access to more youth to participate in the process.
  • Use local data to identify and target communities.

Materials and Tools Developed