HIV/STI Prevention Campaign for High-Risk Youth
MEE supported a consortium of academic institutions in a unique, NIH-funded evaluation of a multilevel HIV/STI prevention campaign for high-risk youth.
MEE-developed, culture-centered radio ads and television public service announcements (PSAs) were tested against and beside other potential interventions (control/treatment groups) for effectiveness with African-American adolescents, ages 12-16 in four cities: Providence, RI; Syracuse, NY; Columbia, SC; and Macon, GA. MEE’s HIV-prevention messages, which promoted both abstinence and risk reduction practices, were culturally-sensitive and age-appropriate. Testing confirmed that the ads were both popular and thought-provoking. They were expected to enhance adolescents’ adoption of HIV-preventive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors on a community-wide basis.
Academic partners in the project included the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Syracuse University and the University of South Carolina. MEE conducted focus group research with teens in two cities as a foundation for message development. The findings were used to refine the radio and TV spots, which included counter-narratives to youth beliefs about sexual behavior.