High School Students Win “Viral Video” Contest Promoting Healthy Relationships

Students earn cash prizes with original videos to educate their peers and reduce STI stigma 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. –The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department today announces winners for the 2023 Viral Video Contest, in which high school students from across the county created original videos to educate their peers about safer sexual behavior, healthy relationships, and stigma about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Nearly half (46%) of all new STIs in the country occur among people ages 15-24, according to the CDC. 

“It is inspiring to see these students enthusiastically address a topic that isn’t the easiest to talk about,” said Dr. Akanksha Vaidya, Assistant Public Health Officer and STI/HIV Controller for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “For many sexually transmitted infections, it is common to have no symptom at all. The contest empowered youth voices with a creative opportunity to encourage their peers to get tested and seek resources when needed.”

Winners were selected by a diverse panel of volunteer judges, including community partners and Public Health’s Getting to Zero Youth and Young Adult Advisory Board, who reviewed 20 submissions from 53 students at eight different high schools. A cash prize of $1,500 is awarded to the first-place winners, with $1,000 for second-place winners and $500 for third-place winners. The schools sponsoring winning teams also receive an additional $500. 

2023 Viral Video Contest Winners

First Place: Landon Qizilbash, Mountain View High School:
https://youtube.com/shorts/ATUCpR7gBPo?feature=share  

Second Place: Quang Tang, Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center:
https://youtu.be/yUyv_FMoB1U 

Third Place: Mika Chen, Jack Concordia, Sasha Fujisaka, and Nova Sheridan, Summit Tahoma:
https://youtu.be/Q6wnzoFouAM 

“As a freshman in high school, people don't typically take me seriously when I talk about my passion for producing videos. Winning the Viral Video Contest has given me confidence in my work and helped prove to myself that I genuinely have talent in this field,” said Landon Qizilbash, first-place winner and student at Mountain View High School.

"Participating as an advisor for students to participate in SCC Public Health's Viral Video Contest has been a rewarding experience for students. The experience provides an opportunity for students to apply their skills and knowledge in a competitive environment, while allowing them to gain confidence and valuable experience for future endeavors," said Tom Chang, teacher and advisor at Mountain View High School. 

The Public Health Department appreciates the participation of volunteer judges: 

  • Ginger Guerra, Lead Case Manager for Bill Wilson Center
  • Mike Nguyen, Youth and Young Adult Advisory Board Member
  • Simon Phichayaphinyo, South County Outreach Coordinator for The LGBTQ Youth Space
  • Catherine Chittenden, Health Education Specialist for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department

“I am so amazed by the level of work these students have created and their dedication to educating folks on sexual health. I worked on Getting to Zero’s anti-stigma PSA back in 2019, and I know firsthand the amount of work that goes into a project like this,” said Simon Phichayaphinyo, South County Outreach Coordinator for The LGBTQ Youth Space.

“Every video submission displayed creativity and an unwavering commitment to building healthy relationships, encouraging safer sexual behavior, and confronting the stigma of sexual health. When youth and young adults raise their voices and take immediate action, they can positively empower their community to get tested and keep everyone healthy and safe," said Mike Nguyen, Youth and Young Adult Advisory Board member.

Local Sexual Health Data

April 9-15 is STI Awareness Week. Following a similar trend across the country, data in Santa Clara County show rising case rates of common STIs in recent decades. Public Health’s STI and HIV Annual Report contains the most recent data for Santa Clara County. 

  • Despite seeing a decrease in 2020 and 2021, chlamydia rates are still among the highest they’ve been in decades. Females ages 15-19 had the third highest chlamydia rate in 2021 among other age groups.
  • Gonorrhea case rates increased 44% for people ages 15-19 between 2012 and 2021.


Watch a recording of the awards ceremony.

View additional contest videos on the Public Health Department’s Facebook facebook.com/sccpublichealth and YouTube youtube.com/user/SCCPublicHealth channels over the coming weeks.

According to contest rules, students had to be high school-age youth living or attending high school in Santa Clara County in order to participate. They recorded a 30-90 second video encouraging safe sex behavior or addressing STI stigma, uploaded the video on YouTube, shared on social media with #GoViralSCC, and completed their contest application at GoViralSCC.org.

For free or low-cost testing and treatment options through Public Health, visit GetTestedSCC.org.

About the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department
The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department focuses on protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, disease and injury prevention, and the promotion of sound health policy.

To learn more about how the Public Health Department serves the people who live, work, study and play in Santa Clara County, please visit our website: www.sccphd.org.
 

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