US vs UK: Sex Ed Show Down
One of my main hypotheses for this project was that the U.K. would have better sexual health education programs and that they would be communicating more openly with young adults. As of right now, I have interviewed six young adults in London which helped me realize how similar their sex education is to the U.S. On the whole, my interviewees have had semi-comprehensive health classes that teach them about sexual health at different ages. During their junior high years, they are taught mostly about the biology of their sexual anatomy, and gain more knowledge about STIs and unwanted pregnancies and how to prevent them as they age in high school.
I did find some very interesting, slightly contradictory information when I spoke to one California graduate student (26), who is studying abroad here and is dating a young U.K. man (25). She was a great insight to sexual health education in both America and the United Kingdom, which is a source I wasn’t expecting to get. Apparently, at the beginning of their relationship, her boyfriend had very limited knowledge on sexual education and she actually had to tell him and his friends about STI testings and other common knowledge things.
The U.K. also does not offer the HPV vaccine for young girls like we do in the U.S. What’s even more perturbing is that U.K. girls do not begin visiting gynecologist until the age of 21 and only visit every three years! In the U.S. we begin at the age of 18 and visit once a year. Finding out that their insurance will not cover simple doctor visits for routine female checkups blew my mind. It really made me realize that the U.K. may be much further behind when it comes to communicating with youths about sexual health.
This regression in communicating real, applicable sexual health information may be why I have found so many more organizations that are trying to tell youths about their changing bodies and the urges that follow suit. I look forward to applying more of my research to the organizations here in London.
Categories: Public Relations, Sexual Health Education
Tags: communicating, comparison, comprehensive sex ed, information, preventing pregnancies, preventing sti, safe sex, sexual health organizations, the united kingdom, the united states, UK, US, young adults, youths
Recently I updated my Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How post with key take aways from each portion of my research. What I did not mention was some of the surprises that I had along the way while researching. It was very surprising that the majority of college students would not post on Planned Parenthood’s social media sites because their of the possibility that family members could see the posts. The idea that even at the college level, young adults still feel the stigma that surrounds sexual health is astounding to me. Because of this key finding, and knowing from my previous sexual health education minor, I know how to better focus who and what I want to researching while in London England.
The United Kingdom has some amazing programs that I have recently learned about which are all about creating an open atmosphere around sexual health. The programs are not only about informing youths and young adults about their newly developing sexual life but also encourage parents, guardians, and teachers to understand why it is important to be open about sexual health education. Having the affected public comprehend that if they educate youths about proper protection and protocols than the overall holistic outcome will be well worth while. Brook and Sexpression U.K. aim to inform a younger audience so unintended teenage pregnancy and STI rates lower among this target audience. I still want to speak to people from the London Sexual Health Programme and the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV to see if any of their referrals come from Brook or Sexpression UK and if their has been a steady raise in young adults visiting the clinics.
Sexpression UK logo
Of course, I also want see how all four organizations communicate with youths as well. I believe that Brook and Sexpression UK have programs and seminars which I hope to attend while in London. I cannot wait to get there and find out more about all of these programs.
Categories: Public Relations, Sexual Health Education
Tags: BASHH, british association of sexual health and HIV, brook, england, london, london sexual health programme, LSHP, NHS, public relations, sexpression, sexpression uk, sexual health education
While researching the communication tactics of Planned Parenthood I want to find out:
- who their target audience is
- how they talk to them
- what their information is
- if their tactics are proving to be a success
- how they communicate with young adults
- what their thoughts are on social media
- if they think social media is worth their time
- if their message is being received by young adults on social media
My interview sources include:
- An educator of the Northern Ohio Region for Planned Parenthood who works in community relations. ONE KEY TAKE AWAY (KTA)- Educators are invited into high school classrooms, college classes, residential halls, and Greek letter organizations to talk to young adults about Planned Parenthood’s services and also how to practice safe sex and have a healthy sexual life. This is a different kind of open two way communication the organization is providing to its audience.
- A Chair of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. ONE KTA- Planned Parenthood must be aware of the big picture in a short term manner. Considering how PP could be de-funded and closed in certain areas after a bill passes they need to still provide accurate sexual/medical health information to their audience
- Seven students found through Facebook that will fill out a Questionnaire via email about Planned Parenthood that are ages 18-22. ONE KTA- Even though they were college students, most of them would prefer to not communicate with PP on social media like Facebook or twitter. They would prefer to use the internet or the texting service.
- One personal friend who is a health client of Planned Parenthood. ONE KTA- PP needs to always be updating their website, since clinics can be closed down pretty fast, PP needs to remove those clinics from the webpage. If a youth would have traveled all the way to the closed down clinic, and they were nervous to begin with, they may not take the time or have the resources to Google where the next nearest clinic is.
- A PR Agent from a Cleveland area PR Agency who has worked with non-profits before. ONE KTA- Create a Facebook app that a viewer could use without having to click “like” on PP’s Facebook page that could debunk myths about sexual health AND Planned Parenthood.
This semester I plan on studying the communication techniques between an organization that focuses on sexual health and young adults (18-21). The two organizations I will be focusing on are Planned Parenthood in the U.S. and the London Sexual Health Programme in the U.K. I am curious as to how these two organizations communicate information about safe sex, unwanted pregnancies, and STIs to this age group and how they educate them about the services provided.
I set out to learn about the comparisons and contrasts between the two organizations, how well their form of communication works for them, and if their differences can be applied to the other company. I believe that this kind of in depth analysis is important because of how low America is ranked when it comes to knowledge and education around sexual health.
For years Europe has been rated at the top of this spectrum of sexual acceptance which is one reason I am interested in this certain analysis. What makes the United Kingdom both a great and a bad choice for this is the fact that it is so similar to the United States. But the United States is a big place, so I am concentrating on Ohio in particular. An analysis of a similar country to the United States is a perfect stepping stone to begin what would be a difficult journey that is building a better sexual understanding for the United States.