The more you know about your health, the better you can be about protecting yourself from getting and others. We want to help our clients and community better understand the correlation between choices we make in one part of our lives and how that impacts other areas; and educate on best choices for better health and lives. Our program is rooted in the evidence-based Harm reduction model which refers to interventions aimed at reducing the negative effects of health behaviors without necessarily extinguishing the problematic health behaviors completely.
About Prevention Education
Spectrum’s Prevention Education program began with a focus on HIV as an important companion to caring for and providing support for those infected with and affect by the disease. Because HIV was shown to be most commonly transmitted by those who have had contracted other STDs/STIs, the natural progression began to include the most common STDs/STIs within two years of being awarded our first HIV Case Management Contract.
As funding increased, so did the outreach, testing, and presentation services provided. We provide off-site education, presentations, and testing events tailored to meet the needs and specific groups of individuals including women, children, college students, young adults, the homeless, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, the adult business community, and more.
Through the years, we have continued to implement evidence-based interventions that help drive the educational services we provide. We have become the premier resource for education and testing in mid-Missouri and beyond.
Prevention Education outreach and testing events reached over 6,700 individuals in our fiscal year ending June 2019. This accounts for 117 events over 12 months with the average of 28 individuals reached during each presentation. Of the 1,704 clients tested for HIV or STDs/STIs at our clinic or at an off-site event:
- the average age is 23.5 years
- 32.55% identify as male
- 92.5% list white as their race
- only 32.55% have health insurance coverage
- 26.06% tested positive for at least one STD/STI or HIV
Condom and Information Drop-Off
In place for almost 2 decades, our condom and information drop-off has continued to be an important service for our community. We provide safer-sex information and condom/lubricant bowls at partnering businesses in the Columbia community. In 2019, Spectrum distributed almost 40,000 condoms! That was an increase of 31% from the prior year.
Bag It Up!
Bag It Up! is a program developed by our staff and team of interns in 2017 which builds off of the basic “condom and information drop-off”. Spectrum provides individually packaged bags filled with an assortment of condoms, lubricant, health education and information, and testing reminder cards. These are stocked at our office as well as select partners in the Columbia area. This has continued to grow and in 2019 we distributed 4,500 bags. If your business would like to be a distribution point, please contact us!
Locations for Supplies and Information
Sites in Columbia where you may find literature, condoms, etc.
(NOTE: during the COVID-19 crisis, locations may not be open)
- 9th Street Video (9th Street)
- Coffee Zone (9th Street)
- Fretboard Coffee (East Walnut)
- Gay House (East Stewart Road)
- Kent’s Floral Gallery (East Broadway)
- Maude Vintage Clothing & Costumes (East Broadway)
- Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream (9th Street)
- The Peace Nook (East Broadway)
Other Prevention Education Topics
This program, with a focus on HIV, STDs/STIs, continues today but with other additional options for presentations including:
- Mental Health
- Sex Education
- Alcohol and Drug Use
- Nutrition and Diet
Our goal is to incorporate identification of the basic health and lifestyle choices to help everyone we reach have better health outcomes. We understand nothing is in a vacuum. How we address one aspect of our life, can certainly effect another, as referenced below:
- Bad eating habits can lead to obesity or nutritional problems
- Misusing alcohol or drugs have their own effect, but may also impact poor choices for your sexual health
- How you deal with turbulent issues in your life can effect everything from sleeping to being productive in school or work
Tomorrow and Beyond
One important goal for 2021 is the expansion of this program. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, it is even more obvious the need for evidence-based education for our community. This includes additional testing events for basic health as well as sexual health; additional staff for off-site presentations covering more areas of health and well-being; additional resources for
With agency and client number growth, so does our commitment to continue to expand our Prevention Education services to better meet the needs of our community.