Many agencies have taken a stand on teen sexual activity teaching abstinence or protection, but the American Social Health Association (ASHA) is a leader in the understanding and prevention of the transmission of STIs in sexually active individuals, especially young people. Not only can information be found on their website, www.ashastd.org but can also be found at their teen oriented site, www.iwannaknow.org. These sites and this agency are bound to the education and prevention of the spread of STIs in the United States and in concert with other non-profit and governmental agencies.
ASHA has been working as a non-profit public health agency since 1914. Initially named the American Social Hygiene Association, its first main focus was to prevent the spread of venereal disease in military soldiers fighting in World War I. In the 1920s, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. helped to fund the ASHA mission, and a special fund was used to create the Committee for Research in Syphilis (ASHA, 2009). In the 1930's, 36 states have created local affiliations with ASHA, and help to change the view of venereal diseases from a moral to medical issue (ASHA, 2009). A major milestone occurred in 1947 when the International Union of Venereal Diseases and Treponematoses names ASHA as its American liaison to the United Nations. Even as early as 1956, ASHA took an interest in the growing number of teenagers being infected with the diseases. In the years leading to today, ASHA has not sat back quietly, but has been the rallying force for many studies, prevention training for medical professionals and educational professionals. In essence, ASHA has remained at the forefront with helping those who have questions through hotlines, community centers, and now even the internet (ASHA, 2009).
Mission and Vision of ASHA
The mission of ASHA has never changed in all the years it has been working for public sexual health. The three person executive staff along with the board of directors ensures the ASHA remains focused on education in and prevention of STIs. The association has four main visions that they work on constantly. The first is the public awareness that is focused on educating, preventing, and the destigmatization of STIs. The second focus is the "patient education and support" which educates patients in aspects of their infections and how to deal with doctors and partners. The third vision health care policies working as advocates for the research and prevention of STIs. The last part of the vision focuses on provider training in the areas of prevention and treatment of STIs (ASHA, 2009).
Who Benefits the Most
ASHA benefits all that are looking for help or answers to questions. However, the association has taken a strong interest in the youth in relation to the contraction of STIs and how the numbers are growing and have been for the past 40 plus years. Because of this, ASHA has created the www.iwannaknow.org website to make finding answers easy and anonymously by the teens that truly need the