Friday, January 9, 2009

"The Young and The Restless STD's"- cel-phone soaps highlight prevention

A new study out of Rutger's University (New Jersey) School of Nursing has combined the oh-so-addicitive soap-opera saga with STD prevention and awareness messages.

"Text Message Soap Operas" have been created - 12 in all - to uncover how women in the study will react (and change their behavior?) after watching the 20-minute episodes on their cell phones. Their risk-reduction behavior will be measured against a control group that will receive text messages urging condom use, but no video. A total of 250 women will participate.

The creator of these "soaps", Nurse educator Rachel Jones, found that more and more young women - bright, educated and single - were showing up in her office infected with an STD's, or pregnant. When asked why they did not promote condom use with their sexual partners, most of the young women responded that their partners viewed condoms as a "sign of distrust" - even though the women were aware that their men were creepin' on them.

The addition of a visual component, another young female that the women can relate to and get emotionally involved with, will hopefully lead to them changing their behaviors as well.

The rampant rise of STD's, including HIV, among young people of color, especially young women, is overwhelming. In a country that should be able to address such an outbreak, and with young women who know the risks of unprotected sex - this should be a no-brainer. But that, sadly, is not the case.

I know that a good "soap", where I can get involved in someone else's mess, oftentimes gives me a chance to see how crazy lives can get.......the ideal behind these soap messages is the same for the women viewing them....and will give them some motivation to take pause and look inward.


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