In 2018, sexually transmitted infections were on the rise among young Queenslanders. And it wasn’t risky attitudes that were driving the trend away from safe sexual behaviour and regular testing. Surprisingly, it was ignorance. Research indicated young people were avoiding the topic entirely due to the ‘cringe-factor’, which resulted in low sexual health literacy.
Although it was clear that young Queenslanders needed urgent sex ed, we knew that an awkward lecture from the government wouldn’t hit the mark. Ideally, the call would have to come from inside the house.
‘Stop the Rise of STIs’ and the follow up ‘STIcebreakers’ used cheeky writing to wrap up safe sex behaviours in meme-like chunks, planting a trojan horse of sexual health advice in young Queenslanders’ social conversations. This included a good measure of direct copy that normalised sexual health discussions with partners, friends, and friends with benefits.
With minimal paid media, the campaign attracted lots of attention, including 1m+ completed video views and 800k Facebook engagements. More importantly, it changed behaviour. Research showed that 3 out of 5 young people changed their attitude towards STI testing after seeing the campaign, and crucially, more than 2 in 5 took action.