Background: Beforeplay.org, a statewide public awareness campaign, aims to improve sexual health in Colorado by normalizing the conversation. Primarily focused on reducing unintended pregnancy, the campaign employs a comprehensive approach to sexual health, recognizing unintended pregnancy and STD prevention behavioral risk and protective factors are inextricably linked. The interactive, evocative campaign engages Coloradans ages 18-29 in positive sexual health conversations and actions; encouraging them to “Just Talk About It.” Online, indoor, outdoor, TV and radio advertising; promotional materials; community outreach; news media; and social media start sexual health conversations and drive young people to the website with age-appropriate, reliable sexual health information.
Methods: Beforeplay.org’s immediate impact is measured with web-based analytics. Until unintended pregnancy and STD prevalence rate data are available for the duration of the campaign, evaluation methods are limited to process measures related to campaign reach and engagement.
Results: Engagement with Beforeplay.org is growing statewide. The website receives approximately 50,000 unique monthly visitors and has had more than 2,000,000 page visits since it launched in early 2012. STD information is the most often and longest viewed content. STD search terms dominate organic search traffic. Organic searches accounts for more than 75 percent of web traffic, four times higher than in 2012. Weekly, over 15,000 Facebook fans receive posts and share sexual health content from Beforeplay.org. Over 15,000 people have interacted with Beforeplay.org through outreach events staffed by over 160 volunteers.
Conclusions: Increasing engagement with Beforeplay.org online and in person indicates positive response to a holistic approach to sexual health. Users accessing STD information online will navigate to other sexual health topics such as birth control, pregnancy planning and sexuality and vice versa; also supporting a comprehensive approach to promoting healthy sexual behaviors. With encouragement and a safe, open space, young people will engage in positive sexual health conversations.