Educating people about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections can be daunting. In 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented the highest number of STIs ever reported in the U.S. Chlamydia topped the list with nearly 1.6 million new diagnoses. (Gonorrhea was second, with almost 470,000 new cases.)
Now a clever illustrated book hopes to engage audiences with a novel approach: presenting it in the form of a children’s book for adults akin to the 2011 best-seller Go the Fuck to Sleep.
Canadian author Jackie Prince teams up with illustrator Liesje Kraai in Chloe Has Chlamydia, the story of a bisexual koala named Chloe, who gets down and dirty in the bush during mating season. Her dreams of wanting to start a family get put on hold temporarily when Dr. Honeyeater diagnoses her with chlamydia, which can damage her reproductive system and threaten the odds of having children if it isn’t found early.
At first, Chloe is distressed that none of her sexual partners — Tim, Susanne Martin, or Corey — mentioned the problem to her. But Dr. Honeyeater explains that STIs can be symptomless, and her sexual partners might not know if they had chlamydia or not. So Chloe embarks on a mission to spread safer-sex education across the bush, starting with disclosures to her koala playmates.
Prince reportedly wanted to make a point that finding out you have an STI and sharing that with others doesn’t have to be judgmental. Because most sex education isn’t inclusive, Prince made sure Chloe had both male and female partners.
The author is donating 10 percent of the book’s proceeds to Planned Parenthood, one of the organizations doing LGBTQ-friendly sex ed.
According to a Guttmacher Institute review, only 12 states require discussion of sexual orientation in sex-ed high school classes.
Chloe Has Chlamydia is the first in the author’s Animals for Adults series, tackling adult issues with humor, empathy, and honesty. Upcoming books in the series include DeeDee Is Depressed, Angus Is Addicted, and Billy Can’t Get a Boner.