Explaining the Nature of a Health Risk
When potentially harmful situations or events occur, people want to know the risk they might face and how it may affect them. If the nature of the risk is explained properly, your audience should feel confident they have a realistic perception of the stakes and an initial idea of how to deal with the situation.
Part D of the CDC Clear Communication Index takes you through questions to help you create a clear explanation of risk. Here’s an example of risk information about who’s affected and why, so people can understand the nature of risk.
- Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus).
- Anyone who lives in or travels to an area where Zika virus is found and has not already been infected with Zika virus can get it from mosquito bites. People who have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) without a condom with a man who has Zika in his semen can get Zika virus from sex.
- About one in five people infected with Zika will develop symptoms, and we do not know if there is a different risk of symptoms for pregnant women.
- Because of the possible association between Zika infection and microcephaly, pregnant women should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Not having sex is the best way to be sure that someone does not get sexually transmitted Zika virus.
- If an individual is sexually active, using latex condoms the right way every time they have vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex can reduce the chance that they can get Zika virus from sex.
For more information on explaining health risks, please visit our Clear Communication Index site