By Melanie Drotar, Public Information Specialist
and Karyn Johnson, Public Health Educator
The Onondaga County Health Department recently collaborated with students at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University on a video public service announcement (PSA) project. It was a perfect partnership: students produced these videos for course credit while gaining real world experience with a government agency, and the Health Department—which does not have in-house video production expertise—is now able to use these professional-quality videos to get important public health messages out to the community.
The Newhouse professor and students met with a team from the Health Department early in the process to gather information and discuss the Health Department’s goals. The students then presented their concepts to the team and went to work writing the storyboards and scripts, recruiting actors, then shooting and editing the videos. This all resulted in high quality video PSAs that can be used for Health Department promotions.
The first videos in the series deal with two priorities in Onondaga County:
April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month, so this month’s article features the video PSA entitled “STDs: You Don’t Always See the Signs”:
This video captures people’s initial reaction to signs printed with the names of numerous STDs. Individuals infected with an STD may not experience any physical signs or symptoms. That is why it is so important to step up and get tested!
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD. The good news is STDs are preventable and treatable. Use the following tips to protect yourself and your partner:
- The only sure way to prevent STDs is to not have sex. This means not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
- Using a condom correctly every time you have sex can help prevent STDs; however, some STDs, including herpes and HPV, can be spread even when using a condom.
- Reducing your number of partners can help reduce the spread of STDs. By having sex with only one person who has been recently tested, you can reduce your risk for getting an STD.
- Getting an HPV vaccine can help protect you from HPV, a virus that can cause some cancers and genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for boys and girls 11 to 12 years of age, but can be given to women through age 26 and men through age 21.
- Talking with your partner about preventing STDs before having sex is important. It may be uncomfortable, but protecting your health is up to you!
- Get tested: just because you or your partner has no symptoms does not mean you are STD free. Getting tested is the only way to know. If you have a positive STD test, make sure you follow through with your treatment to prevent getting re-infected or infecting others.
Get peace of mind. Get checked. There are many options for STD testing. Some people choose to go to their doctor while others prefer to come to the Onondaga County Health Department STD Center. The STD Center provides confidential STD testing and treatment. For more information about the STD Center, call (315) 435-3236 or visit our website.
Special thanks to the faculty and students of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications for the production of this video:
Robert Emerson, Adjunct Professor ─Television, Radio, and Film
Students: Fatima Bangura, Adam Ganley, Laura Hegstetter, Rachel Kucharski, and Maxine Williams