The Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD), through a grant from the County of San Diego, was directed to create a High Risk Behavior Change campaign targeting men who have sex with men (MSM). Unique to the campaign was the inclusion of a research component, which was conducted by the Criminal Justice Research Division of SANDAG (CJRD) and designed to both inform the development and monitor the outcome of the campaign.
Based on preliminary results, it was discovered that the MSM population was engaging in two high-risk behaviors: not disclosing their HIV/STD status to or asking the status of their sexual partners, and engaging in high-risk behaviors after using alcohol or drugs. In response to these findings, beginning in June 2005 advertisements encouraging disclosure of HIV/STD status and safe sex practices were placed in magazines, newspapers, and establishments frequented by this population, as well as on billboards and at bus kiosks. Street intercept surveys were conducted to measure the impact and outreach of the High Risk Behavior Change campaign. Approximately one-third to one-half of the men who had seen the ads reported they disclosed their status, accessed HIV or STD testing services, and made a plan to practice safer sex. Although the findings are not statistically significant, these results indicate a positive direction towards reducing risky behaviors and increasing prevention activities by the individuals who saw the ads.
Drawing on the feedback gathered from the evaluation of this first year of the campaign, FHCSD plans to incorporate changes and build on these positive results during the second year. To learn more about this study, as well as the other public health evaluations that CJRD conducts, visit the SANDAG Web site at www.sandag.org/cjc.
Cyntha Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org,