The Beforeplay Campaign:
Empowering Young Australians for a Safer Tomorrow
By James Sneddon, Co-founder of Stigma Health
In response to the alarming surge in sexually transmissible infections (STIs) among young Australians, the Federal Government recently launched a pivotal awareness campaign named ‘Beforeplay.’ Spearheaded by Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler, this nine-week initiative targets individuals aged 20–34, a demographic disproportionately affected by the rise in new STI notifications.
Minister Butler emphasized the campaign’s dual focus on promoting regular STI testing and advocating for safe sex practices. The comprehensive outreach of ‘Beforeplay’ extends to popular dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr, as well as physical spaces like universities, bars, and clubs. In a commendable move, the campaign materials have been adapted to cater to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The essence of the Beforeplay Campaign
The essence of ‘Beforeplay’ lies in encouraging young Australians to undergo regular STI testing, a crucial component in the battle against the growing prevalence of these infections. Testing avenues include general practitioners, sexual health clinics, and community health centers. Minister Butler, acknowledging the significance of the campaign, stated that one in six Australians will contract an STI during their lifetime, underscoring the need for timely intervention.
It has been close to 15 years since the last major Federal Government STI awareness campaign, making ‘Beforeplay’ both timely and essential. The Minister emphasized that the campaign aims not only to promote safe sex practices but also to bring down infection rates. Certain STIs, such as syphilis, can have severe long-term implications on individuals’ health, making awareness campaigns like ‘Beforeplay’ invaluable in educating the public about the risks and preventive measures.
The statistics provided by the UNSW’s Kirby Institute reveal a concerning trend over the past decade, with diagnoses of gonorrhoea doubling and syphilis tripling. Chlamydia, too, has seen a 12% rise since 2013. In 2022 alone, there were 93,777 chlamydia diagnoses, 32,877 gonorrhoea diagnoses, and 6036 infectious syphilis diagnoses. These numbers highlight the urgent need for proactive measures to curb the spread of STIs.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on testing rates cannot be understated, with sexual health experts pointing out that low testing rates have further heightened the risk of continued STI cases. As we navigate the post-pandemic era, it is crucial to reiterate the importance of regular testing and safe sex practices.
In this context, online platforms such as Stigma Health and PrEP Health play a vital role in providing accessible and convenient testing options. These platforms offer individuals the flexibility to prioritize their sexual health discreetly and conveniently. Regular testing, combined with the use of preventive measures like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), empowers individuals to take charge of their sexual well-being.
As we commend the government’s ‘Beforeplay’ campaign for its proactive stance, it is imperative to amplify the message that testing is not only confined to traditional healthcare settings. Stigma Health and PrEP Health, as online platforms, exemplify the evolving landscape of sexual health services, making testing more accessible to a broader audience.
The Role of Online Platforms:
- Stigma Health and PrEP Health: Embrace accessible and convenient testing options through Stigma Health and PrEP Health. These online platforms exemplify the future of sexual health services, offering flexibility for discreet and convenient testing.
- Empowering Through Prevention: Regular testing, coupled with preventive measures like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), empowers individuals to take control of their sexual well-being. ‘Beforeplay’ amplifies the message that testing is not confined to traditional healthcare settings.
In conclusion, the ‘Beforeplay’ campaign serves as a wake-up call for young Australians to prioritize their sexual health. By advocating regular testing and safe sex practices, we can collectively work towards reversing the alarming trend of rising STI cases. Let us embrace the era of digital health solutions and empower individuals to make informed choices, ensuring a safer and healthier tomorrow for all.