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Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Sexual Health Program – Talk Sex with a Nurse

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Sexual Health Program provides education, counselling and referrals to sexual health clinics and current information on a variety of sexual health issues. The Sexual Health Program, together with individuals and groups, helps to promote a sexually healthy community in Simcoe Muskoka.

The goal of their campaign was to meet the educational needs of the local population of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Simcoe Muskoka and encourage the adoption of safer sex practices. However, by allowing clients to approach them first, SMDHU does not initiate one-on-one discussions with individuals which inevitably means they cannot use mainstream forms of social media to connect with their audience. With this in mind, SMDHU realized that they must be creative with outreach to showcase the services their clinics have available. SMDHU created a profile on a popular gay/bi/MSM site. This provided a discreet outlet for the gay/bi/MSM community in Simcoe Muskoka to communicate with a public health nurse via instant messages, email and message boards. Another way they connect with their audience is quarterly e-Blasts to the members of the site advertising their services and promoting safe sex practices. Although not what we typically think of as usual social media, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit creatively connected with their audience and successfully brought safe-sex messaging to promote a sexually healthy community.