December 1st is World AIDS Day, but the awareness month continues until the new year. Here is some news and research on media and its connections with sexual health, STI/STD prevention, and sexual health literacy.

  • Take a look at the official World AIDS Day website, with statistics, videos, event listings, and more. Did you know it was the first global health day?
  • Why is this an important day to recognize, especially for CMCH? Research shows that the numbers of young people infected with HIV are growing, and around 60% of these teens don't even know they are affected, meaning that they miss out on healthcare and could pass HIV on to new partners. For us, that means that it's ever more important to teach health literacy, using a variety of methods – including meda – to get vital messages across.
  • If you're curious about how sexual activity is portrayed in fictional media like novels, movies, and television shows, we have some research in our database. Here is an analysis of sexual activity content in young adult novels. A 2011 study looked at whether exposure to sex on TV varied by show genre. In 2010, researchers asked teens for their judgment on sexual content in television shows, and in 2009 researchers looked at whether viewing sexual content on television was related to a lower fear of contracting AIDS.
  • You don't have to be an adult to care about teens and health literacy. Take a look at this blog post by a 17-year-old writer on why it's important to get tested for HIV. That same writer also wrote another post linking to a video on touring reproductive health clinics in order to lower fears and stigma associated with such visits.
  • Many healthcare providers have been experimenting with using new media to engage with adolescents and encourage preventive sexual health practices. Here's a study on computer-based interventions targeting teens in rural areas, and this study looked at the efficacy of similar programs. There is also a texting-based prevention program. And what do you think of this much older (1990) method, an AIDS comic book?
  • In this study, teens themselves took the lead on teaching their peers about media representations of sex.
  • For more global perspectives on HIV/AIDS prevention, take a look at these studies based in Brazil, Uganda, Jamaica, and a global initiative with a study based in Nepal, Brazil, and Senegal.
  • Rookie is an online teen magazine (and huge phenomenon) started by a teenage girl and featuring adult and teen contributors. It's a great way for teen girls to teach and converse with each other about sexual health issues, empowerment, and concerns. Take a look at some of these great posts: 1, 2, and 3.

To look at more research on the effects of media on child and adolescent health, check out the free CMCH Database of Research.

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