A group of Researchers at the University of Colorado have found that a site aimed at teenagers encouraging safer sex has decreased their chances of catching an STD.

The study included 1,578 young adults between 18 and 24.  Some were asked to ‘Like’ and receive news from a sexual-health Facebook page called Just/Us, which posted articles about condom use and sexually transmitted infection testing.  The other group ‘liked’ the Facebook page called 18-24 News, which provided general news items targeted to the age group.

The idea was to see whether the sexual health-based page made the young adults more likely to wear condoms than the general news page.

Two months later, the participants were surveyed, and it was found that 68 per cent of people signed up to the sexual advice site had used condoms during their last sexual encounter, compared to just 56 per cent in the news group.

The lead researcher was Sheana Bull who said the use of social media such as Facebook to influence sexual behaviour was new.
“It is a first step in considering how to reach the overwhelming numbers of youth online, and how to maximise approaches to technology-based interventions…therefore it may provide a viable alternative to promote safer sex.”

She added that many young people do not have access to regular health care, however 73 per cent use social media.

Of all 16-19 year olds diagnosed with an STI, at least 11 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men will become re-infected within a year.

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