USA: Opening Conversations on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides free or inexpensive sexual health services to young men and women in the United States and abroad, has launched a YouTube campaign. The organization is encouraging people to share their thoughts and experiences around getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases, educating their kids about sex, and discussing reproductive rights issues.

Even in the United States, where abortion is legal (albeit under attack), these are difficult topics for people to confront openly. So perhaps not surprisingly, there have not been many video responses from viewers sharing their own stories. Nonetheless, a search on YouTube will turn up a few videos from ordinary people sharing experiences about getting an HIV test, including one from Keisha770.

In online videos, Planned Parenthood shares helpful tips on how to talk to your children about sex and sexuality, including a simulated parent-child conversation between two adults. Below, mother and daughter Haydeé and Marcella Morales discuss how they have put some of these lessons into practice in their own family.

And here, in another video by Planned Parenthood, individual Americans discuss the importance of affordable birth control.

In this video, by an organization called Sex Etc., which helps teenagers to inform other teens about sexual health, a young man named Josh goes for his first HIV test in New York.

Citizen media can be an important tool for people to share sexual health advice, especially considering how a lack of accurate information can lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted teenage pregnancies, and unsafe abortion methods, as well as prevent women from taking control of their own sexual and reproductive rights. This is particularly true for women of color in the U.S., who have the highest abortion and unintended pregnancy rates. Sadly, there is also an enormous amount of misinformation in the same space, so sources should be vetted carefully.

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