A woman who goes by Nurse Holly on social media, specifically on TikTok, where she has 1.7 million followers, is facing backlash for promoting abstinence as the "best" method for STD prevention in a video.
"The best way to prevent STDs is waiting for sex until marriage. Just the truth," she says in recent TikTok that's since been deleted but is still being widely shared on other platforms like Twitter.
Holly, who did not want to disclose her full name or any personal information, told BuzzFeed News she deleted the video due to the backlash. She also apologized "for any offense that was taken" as she "only wish[es] to promote positivity and healthy lifestyles."
People who watched her video commented that they felt it was irresponsible for her to suggest abstaining from sex as medical advice.
"Nurse Holly is wrong. The only way to ensure you never have any STD’s is to never have sex of any kind...which is unreasonable for most people," one person tweeted in response.
"Best way to prevent a flu is to live in an isolation chamber," one person retorted.
The video has caused other self-identified nurses and medical professionals to respond publicly to Holly's assertions. One woman, @shesinscrubs, said Holly's "biased rhetoric regarding public health" was "so low and so so dangerous."
She created a TikTok in response, which has also gone viral.
Other nurses are now creating TikToks of their own in response to offer nonjudgmental perspectives and other alternatives for safe sex.
"While abstinence is a valid way to prevent the spread of STIs, more comprehensive education on the full spectrum of options available is important," user @hoodratdiego wrote in a TikTok of his own.
"Most importantly, STOP SHAMING PEOPLE AND BE A DECENT HUMAN," he added.
Holly told BuzzFeed News said she made the video for the "little girls" who follow her. She said she wanted to tell them "that there can be benefits of saving sexuality for one partner."
"In the comments, I acknowledged that of course using protection will help prevent STDs if one is sexually active. I just wanted to present another option to my young audience," she said.
"I understand that my voice will not be accepted by many as it’s an unpopular view. This video was simply created with the intention of helping little girls see that saving sex for one partner may have certain benefits."
In the meantime, some are sharing other TikToks on the subject of medical and sex-related health education for young users on the platform.