“Viral” videos teach viral lesson as Santa Clara County high school students encourage sexual health

Students competed for cash prizes up to $1,500 with original short videos to empower their peers and reduce STI stigma

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. – The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department today announces winners of the 2024 Viral Video Contest. Participants created engaging social media videos about preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Half of all new STI cases in the United States are among people aged 15 to 24, making this age group critical to reach. High school students from across the county competed for cash prizes by creating original videos encouraging their peers to get tested, while promoting healthy relationships and reducing stigma associated with STIs.

“High school kids know what makes a video go viral. It's inspiring to see them use those skills to address a topic that can be hard to talk about. Reducing stigma around STIs begins with open dialogue that helps make sexual health a part of routine healthcare,” said Dr. Sarah Rudman, Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

A diverse panel of judges reviewed submissions from 104 students across the county. Cash prizes were awarded to the first, second, and third-place winners: $1,500, $1,000, or $500 for the top three winning teams, plus $500 for each winning team’s school.
2024 Viral Video Contest Winners

“This contest was a very engaging and creative way for me and others to exercise our video production skills, and spread an important message. I hope all the videos we submitted will help people be more knowledgeable about STIs/STDs and open about getting tested,” said Genevieve Brammall from Summit Tahoma.
“Participating in this competition was something that really opened my eyes when it comes to filmmaking. I knew things were possible, I just wasn't sure if I was capable of making it happen. Now that it did happen and I was able to achieve something great and participate in this along with some of my friends, I'm more motivated to do more great things and hopefully get very far. It was a fun experience working along with my classmates and an even better experience for being able to celebrate this win along with them,” said Maria Guadalupe Esquivel Flores from Silicon Valley Career Technical Education.
“It’s been amazing for us to have somewhere to show and use our film passion and skills for. It’s hard to find places in the Bay Area to compete in this field, so it’s been (a) really great opportunity,” said Allison Crick from Silicon Valley Career Technical Education.

Viral video contest

Source: Screenshot of third-place winning video from Summit Tahoma students.

The Public Health Department values the participation of volunteer judges: 

  • Crystal Haney, Community Outreach Specialist, Office of LGBTQ Affairs
  • Richard Do, Youth and Young Advisory Board Member, Getting to Zero Initiative 
  • Tara Sikorski, Science Coordinator, Integrated STEAM (iSTEAM) Professional Learning and Instructions Support Division, Santa Clara County Office of Education
  • Hugo Badillo-Sanchez, Health Education Associate, County of Santa Clara Public Health Department

Local Data

When it comes to STIs, it is common to have no symptom at all. 
STI rates in Santa Clara County continue to be well below those seen across California and the United States. The Public Health Department’s STI and HIV Annual Report contains the most recent data, including:

  • While rates of gonorrhea were level in Santa Clara County from 2021 to 2022, data show a 21% increase for people aged 15-19.  
  • Rates of chlamydia are increasing, but still below historic pre-pandemic highs. Data show a 10% increase from 2021 to 2022 for people aged 15-19. 
  • The number of new HIV diagnoses among people aged 13-24 is at its lowest level in more than 10 years, and down 67% from a peak in 2019. 

For free or low-cost testing and treatment options and other sexual health services available through Public Health, visit GetTestedSCC.org.

The Contest

Watch a recording of the awards ceremony: https://youtu.be/5di6oXkmS5Q.

Additional contest videos will be available on the Public Health Department’s Facebook and YouTube channels over the coming weeks.

To participate, high-school-age students living or attending school in Santa Clara County had to produce and submit a 30-90 second video that encouraged safer sex behavior and addressed STI stigma, upload the video on YouTube, share it on social media with #GoViralSCC, and complete their contest application at GoViralSCC.org.



News Release


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