How to Teach STI Education Without it Feeling Like a Scare Tactic

Presenter: HeyDenver

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Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 AM

Sturm Hall 251

Program Description

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) education is a crucial part of sexual health education, yet medically accurate sex education is only required in 18 states. The politicization of STI education increases stigma and has made it so people are not receiving the information that they need to make informed decisions about their health. This has led to an uptick in breakouts of HIV, congenital syphilis, and more, despite the advancements in prevention and care. How do we get this information across in a way other than the classic Mean Girls line, “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!”? STI prevention is a way to increase pleasure and needs to be framed as such. People don’t need to be afraid of getting STIs, they need to be given the tools to protect themselves in whatever ways align with their values. Additionally, while STIs are more prevalent in certain communities, folks should not be made to feel like they are inherently at higher risk of getting STIs due to their identities.

This presentation will go over destigmatizing language choice when discussing STIs, condom options, DoxyPEP, PrEP, PEP, poly safety, and more. We will also discuss LGBTQ+ inclusivity and how systemic barriers contribute to inequality in STI care and prevention, particularly for marginalized groups. Through this lecture, we aim to teach attendees how to empower their patients or students and separate themselves from the stigma that currently comes with STI care and education.

Presenter Bio

HeyDenver is a non-profit community-based organization that provides Queer-focused free and confidential sexual health services, outreach, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing in both English and Spanish. We are an extension of Colorado Health Network, a statewide organization that serves over 5,000 individuals living with HIV. Miriam Moreno is the Manager of HeyDenver with a background in abortion care. Michelle Jacobson and Rogelio Munoz Vargas are Prevention Services Coordinators for HeyDenver. Auston Carlson is our PrEP Navigator. Everyone on the HeyDenver team is queer, and we love to give culturally competent sex education presentations to the community.