A public health campaign requires strategic planning in which a broad communication plan for the entire public health campaign must prevail. The health concern that requires the public awareness is the issue of sexually transmitted infections. The youths are the target population for the campaign due to the high prevalence rates and infection rates that are gradually increasing. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) will significantly assist the public health officials to impart the values of logical actions that youths should practice to avoid STDs. The initial plan will begin with setting a platform through social media websites.
An effective public health campaign must have a reliable communication plan. Creating a communication plan is an essential part of a campaign planning process (Randolph & Viswanath, 2004). A communication plan is generally a strategic plan of delivering the public health information to the targeted audience (Hanan, 2008). The intended STDs campaign for the youth will formulate a strategic communication plan that will cover various elements of planning the health campaign. This section of the communication plan focuses on expounding the public health concern that requires the campaign, identifying the target population and the reason behind its selection, discussing the initial planning stage of the campaign, and outlining the goals for implementing the STDs plan.
The Public Health Issue
The major concern is the issue of sexually transmitted diseases among the youth. According to Tzeng, Clarks, Garges, and Otto (2013), STDs contribute to mass deaths and their treatments are becoming complex, costly, and almost impossible. STDs are part of the communicable diseases that have proven difficult for the health care officials to counter. The STDs infections are infeasible, the outbreaks are unpredictable, the treatments are miniature, and the repercussions of the outbreaks are fatal (Hanan, 2008). Many sexually transmitted viruses are still incurable, the fungal infections are tormenting, and the bacterial infections are almost becoming resistant to the available medical remedies (Hanan, 2008). Nowadays, only abstinence and safe sex are the only effective prevention strategies.
Identification & Justification of the Youth Population
The target population for the STDs campaign is the youth or the teenage group of population. Smedley (2012) states that most STDs are fatal and high infection rates among the youths will be detrimental for the future. Further, the infection rates and prevalence rates of STDs among the youth are alarming (Clarke, Niederdeppe, & Lundell, 2012). In a recent 2010-2011 investigation report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of Chlamydia among the youths aged 15–19 years and 20–24 years is increasingly steadily at 4.0% annual rate, gonorrhea at 5.8% and syphilis at 2.9% (Caldeira, Singer, O’ Grady, Vincent, & Aria, 2012). Youths in the United States highly contribute to the new cases of the STDs infections.
The Theory that Will be Appropriate
The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) would help to promote safe sex and abstinence. According to Southey (2011), TRA urges people to streamline their actions before they could regret about the negative consequences of their planned actions. The theory believes in three important constructs, which are the behavioral intentions, the attitudes of individuals, and the normative beliefs. Personal attitudes, behavioral intentions, and normative beliefs are personal variables that often determine the health of individuals and their precautions against infections (Southey, 2011). The theory would help the campaigners to insist on reasoned actions such as the use of protection and abstinence.
The Initial Plan for the STDs Campaign
The initial plan of the campaign will involve attractive information that will appear on prominent social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Google+. Youth are nowadays spending most of their time on the prominent social media networks that seem appealing, interactive, friendly, and cheap to operate. According to Gomm, Lincoln, Pikora, and Giles-Corti (2006), social media information will enlighten the youth and prepare them psychologically. The next initial step of creating the STDs awareness is through the television networks and broadcasters that operate on digital platforms. Such approaches will increase the seriousness of the project and increase the spread of information.
The Goals for Implementing the STDs Campaign
- Objective 1: Increase awareness about the prevalence of STDs infections and the involved repercussions.
- Objective 2: Promote good health through informing the youths on the importance of practicing safe sex and abstaining from risky sexual behaviors.
- Objective 3: Increase the STDs tests and devise means of supporting the youths that already have the infections.
- Objective 4: Create a social change, where the issues of stigmatization, social alienation, and discrimination will form the main discussions.
A public health campaign is a broad program that requires a comprehensive planning approach that involves the creation of a communication plan. It requires the public heath campaigners to identify a public health issue to address, the target population to involve in the program, and the major theories and plans that the campaign will follow. This section of the first plan of the communication plan is part of the broad STDs campaign targeted on the youths. The campaigners will aim to urge the youths to have reasoned actions such as practicing safe sex and completely abstaining from premarital sex.
Caldeira, K., Singer, B., O’Grady, K., Vincent, K., & Arria, A. (2012). HIV testing in recent college students: Prevalence and correlates. AIDS Education Prevention, 24(4), 363-376.
Clarke, C., Niederdeppe, J., & Lundell, H. (2012). Narratives and Images Used by Public Communication Campaigns Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(1), 4254-4277.
Gomm, M., Lincoln, P., Pikora, T., & Giles-Corti, B. (2006). Planning and implementing a community-based public health advocacy campaign: a transport case study from Australia. Health Promotion International, 21(4), 284-292.
Hanan, M. (2008). HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaigns: a Critical Analysis. Canadian Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), 129-158.
Randolph, W., & Viswanath, K. (2004). Lessons learned from public health mass media campaigns: marketing health in a crowded media world. Annu Rev Public Health, 25(1), 419-37.
Smedley, B. (2012). The lived experience of races and its health consequences. Am. J. Public Health, 2012(102), 933–935.
Southey, G. (2011). The Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior Applied to Business Decisions: A Selective Annotated Bibliography. Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends, 9(1), 43-50.
Tzeng, J., Clark, L., Garges, E., & Otto, J. (2013). Epidemiology of Sexually Transmitted Infections among Human Immunodeficiency Virus Positive United States Military Personnel. Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Volume 2013 (2013), 1-9.