We have heard the importance of using condoms to protect one's self from getting sexually-transmitted diseases.
But with Alaska's rate of STDs being among the highest in the nation, state lawmakers’ new approach at showcasing them was done on purpose to promote change.
"Sexually transmitted diseases are not benign, they cause problems, they will cause a miscarriage, they will cause babies to be born infected, they can cause complicated infection in both men and women," said Susan Jones who is the state's HIV/STD program manager.
Jones says people are not identifying all their partners or not telling all their partners they are exposed. It's those serious consequences that have pushed the state to change its philosophy on how to prevent STDs in the first place. And they are doing that by targeting the groups they say are most at risk, young adults 17-years-old and under and those aged 18 through 24.
"We have to do something that is different because we can't get control of the sexually transmitted diseases in Alaska," Jones said.
Doing something different means actually doing something unique, which, Jones said, includes using some humor. Condoms that have special messages designed to get people to use them and to create a dialogue about being safe.
"We are hoping that this campaign will put some of the responsibility on the folks that are sexually active and they will try to protect themselves and their partners by using condoms," Jones said.
It is that education that other agencies say is crucial to prevention.
"Condoms are one of the best sources of protection that we have," said Heather Davis, who is the executive director of the Alaska Aids Assistance Association. "Everybody is at risk for disease, you need to practice safe sex, and that includes anybody at every age."
Health officials say with Alaskans facing the potential of getting sexually-transmitted diseases, it’s time to fight back with messages that could ultimately save their lives.
This new campaign is being funded with $360,000 that came from the state legislature.
It's a three-year push that includes options like ordering condoms and STD testing kits for free through the mail.
For more information on the campaign click here.
Contact Corey Allen-Young