Step 2 – Plan Your Activities
This section provides some tips on how to integrate your chosen campaign(s) into your STI Awareness Week activities. The following ideas illustrate a unique opportunity to reach and engage with consumers, healthcare providers, and organizations in your community. It is important to remember that your STI Awareness Week activities should ultimately support your organization’s goals. In addition to the information below, HIV.gov has a helpful planning guide to assist you while planning for events, activities, and outreach. You also can visit the STI general resource page for links to fact sheets, infographics, and more STI resources.
Identify Your Audience and Primary Goal
Before deciding which activities to implement, be sure to identify who it is you’re aiming to reach and your primary goal (e.g., promote testing among young people, educate healthcare providers about the importance of using CDC’s STI Treatment Guidelines to test and treat patients, etc.). Once you identify your audience and goal, you can explore the activities below to help formulate your plans. While developing messages and activities, consider ways to incorporate these Health Equity Guiding Principles.
Identify Your Activities
Digital campaigns are helpful if your goal is related to awareness and education. There are many mediums (e.g., social media platforms, your organization’s website, local media outlets) available to help you expand your reach to a broader audience. The CDC STI campaign that you select can supplement any existing digital activities you plan to implement, or it can be your primary activity.
If you are using a CDC campaign as your primary activity, visit the sample social media pages for GYT, Prepare Before You’re There, and Talk. Test. Treat. to identify ready-to-use messages and graphics that best align with your audience and goals. Spanish-language resources are also available for some campaigns.
If you are looking for additional planning guidance, each campaign includes suggestions for daily themes focusing on different campaign-related topics that can be used throughout the week. There also is the option to pull elements from multiple campaigns and create a unique plan of action or to supplement your current plans, according to your intended audience or focus.
- Tailor the campaign content to meet your needs.
- Insert local data where applicable
- Customize the sample social media messages with information about local activities
- Make the campaign relevant to your audience
- Do not forget your call to action. For example, if you are sharing testing information, connect people to a local testing center or CDC’s GetTested website.
- Follow best practices with your social media messages.
- Check the messages’ character counts to make sure they are not too long for your selected platforms.
- Shorten links to web pages if you include a link for more information.
- Attach graphics, GIFs, and videos—content with visuals consistently performs better.
- Use the hashtag #STIWeek to join the conversation and help amplify prevention messages during STI Awareness Week.
- Think “Mobile First.” When creating content for social media, remember the phrase “Mobile First”! Most social media users access content using a smartphone. For more social media information and resources, visit CDC’s social media website.
- Use different digital platforms. Explore and use the features available on different digital platforms for creative ways to share campaign materials. Examples include:
- Creating stories (e.g., on Facebook or Instagram) and using filters and stickers to engage users and provide more information
- Broadcasting live videos (e.g., on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- Hosting or joining twitter chats
- Adding posts on partner websites
- Sending email newsletters
- Amplify your messages through outreach. Spread the word about STI prevention to groups, such as your partners, local decision makers, or the general public.
Innovative testing options are a key component of STI prevention. In addition to in-person testing, there is continued opportunity to embrace and expand phone, video, and online health care visits, as well as “at-home specimen collection.”
When thinking about what testing options and activities are right for your organization, it is essential to develop a project plan. Make sure your project plan includes:
- Roles and responsibilities
- Ways to measure success
If you are taking the lead on implementing a new testing strategy or activity, reach out to local organizations you can collaborate with for a more significant impact. You also may find that other organizations may already be planning similar activities. If so, consider joining forces or sharing plans for a coordinated effort.
Follow the most current COVID-19 guidance if you’re planning in-person events.
- Engage your community. When it comes to STI prevention, we rely on many traditional and nontraditional partners (e.g., community organizations, healthcare providers, and businesses) to help achieve goals. Examine your network to determine whom to involve if you offer different options for STI testing and in what capacity.
- Promote your STI testing options! Adapt campaign graphics to create promotional materials like posters to advertise how you are providing STI testing services in your area (e.g., phone, online, or in person) that serve your intended audience. The Talk.Test.Treat. campaign has a collection of materials you can use to help support these efforts.
- Educate people when they test. CDC’s fact sheets can help. Be sure to explore the campaign websites for links to other resources as well.
- Link people to care. If a person tests positive for an STI, make sure you have procedures in place to ensure they are made aware of their treatment options and next steps.
Whether it is a town hall, 5K run/walk, or trivia event, a virtual or in-person community event provides a unique opportunity to connect with many people for an extended amount of time. If you are not hosting an event, consider attending, promoting, or supporting partner events as a way to help spread your STI Awareness Week messages. Be sure to consult relevant COVID-19 guidance to help you determine what kind of event is right for your community and the circumstances at that time.
- Tailor campaign content to meet your needs. You can combine sample messages from the campaigns with information about your event in promotional messages.
- Promote valuable resources. Community event settings, where people can converse and engage with each other, would be an ideal place to share useful resources featured in this toolkit. There will be representation from numerous health professionals and organizations that may not be able to implement the campaigns but could benefit from other general resources.
Remember, these are just some of the different activities you can do. You can focus on one or many activities depending on your capacity and goals. Since activities tend to overlap, the tips from each section can be helpful no matter what you decide to do.