The SafeSex808 Project


Aloha. The SafeSex808 project​ is looking for an opportunity to educate the public about its informational campaign (aimed at teens and young adults) to reduce the cases of sexually transmitted disease and unintended pregnancies.

Below is a Q and A about the campaign:

What prompted the development of SafeSex808?

Adolescents in Hawaii bear markedly higher rates of pregnancy and chlamydia infection than their counterparts in the rest of the United States. When we look at national surveys of teen behavior, Hawaii ranks last in condom use among teens- so these high rates of STDs and unintended pregnancy are, unfortunately, not very surprising.

Most STDs, including chlamydia, typically do not produce symptoms, which means that without testing, it’s nearly impossible to know if you’ve got an infection. We see the long-term consequences of untreated STDs, including ectopic pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility, in our offices far too often.
When it comes to adolescent pregnancy, we know that teen mothers are at higher risk for complications and poor birth outcomes, and studies have shown that teen parents are less likely to finish high school and are at a higher risk for living in poverty.

As a community, we should care about reducing these preventable epidemics because they not only affect the health and welfare of our adolescents, but they also are a large economic burden for our state. It’s estimated that long term consequences of untreated chlamydia can result in approximately $3000 per person in medical expenses, and Hawaii spends approximately $38million per year in costs associated with teen pregnancy. It’s been shown that for every $1 spent on pregnancy prevention, the state saves up to $15.

What is SS808?

SafeSex808 grew out of our faculty’s growing concern about the health of our teens. We decided to embark on a community-wide effort to 1) educate teens about their sexual health and motivate them to adopt safer sex behaviors and 2) connect teens to a well-integrated network of clinicians prepared to provide teen-friendly testing, treatment, and contraceptive services.

We have a collaborative effort with local family medicine, ob-gyn, pediatric, and internal medicine clinicians and community health centers to increase their capacity for providing teen friendly services. We have been providing education and support to our colleagues in the community to help them better serve our teens when it comes to reproductive health. is our website, a one-stop shop for teens to learn about STDs prevention, testing, and treatment, and pregnancy and contraception. The site also has important information for teens about what to expect during an appointment, tips for talking with your doctor or parents about sex, and information about things like health insurance and confidentiality. The other great feature on the site is a “Find a Doctor” function- this function allows teens to find local clinicians near them who can provide teen friendly services.

What are the ads?

We are really proud of the marketing campaign for SafeSex808. These ads were designed by students completing their bachelor of fine arts degree at UH Manoa. We feel incredibly fortunate that the students agreed to work with us on this campaign as they brought insights and perspective to the project that we never would have come to on our own. We’ve run some of these ads on TheBus this year and have turned them into flyers and posters to be distributed throughout the community. We think these images and messages will start a conversation among teens, and with their parents, teachers, and families. We hope these discussions will make teens feel empowered and supported in their decision to take their reproductive health seriously.

What kind of reproductive healthcare should teens have?

In addition to routine primary care, all young women should have their 1st reproductive health visit between the ages of 13-15, or sooner if the teen has any concerns. Both male and female teens should receive the full series of the HPV vaccine. Sexually active teens should be using a highly effective form of contraception, ideally a Long Acting Reversible method such as a contraceptive implant or an IUD, and be screened for STIs at least annually. SafeSex808 has a list of local providers who can provide these services.