Sexual Health and Responsibility Program (SHARP): Preventing HIV, STIs, and Unplanned Pregnancies in the Navy and Marine Corps

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In 1999, the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center converted an HIV train-the-trainer program into a broader effort of preventing not just HIV, but also other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies. The premise for this broader approach was that a more comprehensive sexual health promotion message of STI, HIV, and unplanned pregnancy prevention is more likely to include at least one personally relevant concern for any given individual and is, therefore, more likely to be internalized and acted upon by the greatest number of individuals, and that risk reduction for any one of these consequences of sexual activity may reduce risk for all. This new effort was labeled the Sexual Health and Responsibility Program (SHARP). Within the Navy and Marine Corps, SHARP has become a focal and trusted source of sexual health promotion products, consultative services, and training, as well as a conduit for multidisciplinary collaboration and coordination. The existence of this central sexual health program normalizes integrated and comprehensive sexual health messages, enables efficiencies, promotes program and policy uniformity, and provides a forum for cross-organizational collaboration and continuous improvement.

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