In the past year, the sexually transmitted infection rate in Alberta has skyrocketed, and Alberta Health Services is launching a cheeky social media campaign in hopes of reaching the younger generation.
“Go balls deep without losing sleep,” “Protect your junk and your trunk” and “Get some without catching some” are among the slogans in the new awareness campaign, aimed at getting their target audience to practice safe sex.
“We’re aiming the ads at the people most at-risk of STIs, and that’s people in their 20s and men who have sex with men. So the ads were designed in consultation with those groups, focus group testing, to ensure that they resonate and provide the right message,” Dr. Gerry Preddy, senior medical officer of health with AHS, said.
Other slogans include “Chase bears with no scares,” “Give her the big O not the ‘oh-no!’ and “Keep your vajayjay yay-yay.”
“We know that the people we’re trying to reach use social media, they go on the internet, so that’s really what we have to do – get on the sites they’re going to and have short, snappy messages that catch their attention,” Preddy said.
“So far the reaction has been good.”
In the past year, the number of gonorrhea cases in Alberta has jumped 80 per cent, to rates not seen in the province since the 1980s. The syphilis rate is up 200 per cent in Alberta over last year, AHS said in late April.
If left untreated, STIs can have lasting effects on your health and fertility.
The reason for the spike? Anonymous hook-ups arranged on social media, according to the government.
“It’s easy for people to hook up now using some of the websites and when they do hook up on the websites often it’s with an anonymous partner so that makes it more difficult for us to follow up on,” Preddy explained.
While he knows not everyone will be on board with the campaign, Preddy said it works with the audience they’re hoping to reach.
“We’re not aiming this at everyone, and certainly there are people who wouldn’t take kindly to these ads, but again, the groups that we’re trying to reach, the response we got from them has been positive.”
The ads direct people to visit sexgerms.com to learn more about practising safe sex and how to prevent the spread of infection.