Learning from Mass Media Campaigns for HIV/AIDS Prevention
Reviews of mass media campaigns have a special interest for me. They demonstrate what can be done, and as importantly, what cannot be done, by relying on a 1P approach. I have talked about the 5% Solution before, and noted another review of mass media campaigns for changing health behaviors. This post focuses on the findings from a review of recent campaigns to prevent HIV/AIDS. What is interesting in this report are the comparisons it draws to reviews of earlier campaigns in this area as well as the current state of the art and science. The authors used seven principles to guide their analysis: (1) conducting formative research on and about the target audience; (2) using theory as a conceptual foundation; (3) segmenting one’s audience into meaningful subgroups; (4) using a message design approach that is targeted to the audience segment(s); (5) utilizing effective channels widely viewed by and persuasive with the target audience; (6) conducting process evaluation and ensuring high message exposure; and (7) using a sensitive outcome evaluation design that reduces threats to internal validity and allows causal inferences about campaign impact to be made. The question they explore is: to what extent have recent HIV/AIDS campaigns in the literature adhered to these principles? Noar et al (2009) began with a search of peer-reviewed articles appearing from late 1998 through October 2007. Mass media had to be a central or prominent part of a campaign that focused on increasing safer sexual behaviors, reducing risky sexual behaviors, or encouraging HIV testing. At least one outcome measure had to be reported; 38 articles were identified that met these criteria, representing 34 different campaigns. The results on the variables of interest were: Formative research - 16 of the 34 studies (47%) reported any type of research with the audience or pretesting of messages. the most commonly reported activity was...
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