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Learning about #SaferIsSexy

Posted by on September 22nd, 2017 Posted in: Public Health
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Logo for #saferissexy campaign, ABCD Health Services

This week, I headed into Boston (MA) with my colleague Susan Halpin. We were scheduled to meet with Action for Boston Community Development. ABCD is an anti-poverty and community development organization founded in 1961, several years before the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. ABCD serves over 100,000 clients, facilitating access to benefits that allow families to stabilize their home lives and move toward self-sufficiency. Our visit to ABCD is part of the NNLM NER’s Focused Outreach Initiative.

Prior to the 2016-2021 funding cycle, NER identified Boston as a new area for Focused Outreach. To learn about health information needs, Susan and I generated a list of government agencies (Boston City Council, Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health), hospitals and clinics (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Whittier Street Health Center), libraries and learning centers (Boston Public Library, Blum Patient and Family Learning Center at Massachusetts General Hospital), and community-based organizations (Action for Boston Community Development, Community Servings, Multicultural AIDS Coalition). We conducted 13 key informant interviews over the summer. By August, we concluded that we wanted to reach Boston-area youth on topics of mental health, substance use, and sexually transmitted infections. Our draft goal is to demonstrate the availability of National Library of Medicine resources that are available through mobile apps and mobile-optimized websites. All of our key informant interviews pointed to smartphones as the best internet access method.


During our meeting with ABCD, we had the opportunity to hear from Health Education and Training Manager Irvienne Goldson. Ms. Goldson talked about the #saferissexy campaign.

Safer is S.E.X.Y. (Sophisticated Empowered Xtraordinary You) is a social media and community outreach campaign to mobilize the community and engage non-traditional partners to promote targeted substance abuse and HIV prevention messages to Black and Latina Women and Girls in Greater Boston.

The three steps to S.E.X.Y. are:

  1. Knowledge is Power. Find out about HIV/STI and safer sex methods.

  2. Know Your Status. Get free HIV Rapid Tests at ABCD partner sites.

  3. Know Your Plan. Attend Sister2Sister individual sessions to develop personal prevention plans.

At this point, we have not determined the best methods to work with ABCD. We need their guidance to learn appropriate avenues for instruction in health information resources. As they take some time to consider what we have to offer, I will be following #saferissexy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Although this is just one of many ABDC programs, learning about #saferissexy is an opportunity for me to see the good work that is happening in our Focused Outreach area.

Check out this 2016 video for an overview of Sister2Sister.

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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