OMAHA, Neb. (CNN) The Adolescent Health Project debuted a new kind of prom formal wear Tuesday morning designed to get teenagers talking about safe sex.
Organizers placed condom-crafted outfits on display in barbershops and dress boutiques around Omaha with the hopes that it will help lower Douglas County’s numbers of teen pregnancies and STD rates.
Each outfit also includes a “price tag” that directs people to sexfactsomaha.com, which includes a map of more than 120 locations that offer free condoms, as well as clinics offering free STD testing.
“We want to go wherever teens are… they’re not just going to health clinics,” said Laura Gainor, executive director of Serve Marketing. “That’s probably the place that they are least likely to go to first.”
Since 2001, Douglas County has seen high numbers of chlamydia, which has increased 4.8 percent from last year alone, according to the Douglas County Health Department.
The county’s numbers also top the state and national averages.
“Specifically for chlamydia, 66% of our cases are in 15 to 24-year-olds, so that includes the high school community,” said Dr. Adi Pourl of the Douglas County Health Department.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says many cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis go undiagnosed and unreported. It’s estimated that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States, with half being among young people aged between 15 and 24 years old.