Mass media campaigns to prevent pregnancy & STIs

Mass media interventions to decrease pregnancy and STIs use television, radio, internet, and print media to disseminate information regarding safe sex behaviors to a large population in order to increase knowledge, improve risk perception, and change behavior.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased STI testing

  • Increased HIV and STI knowledge

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Reduced risky sexual behavior

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that mass media interventions increase frequency of HIV testing in the short-term (Cochrane-Wei 2011*Cochrane-Vidanapathirana 2005*) as well as knowledge about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (LaCroix 2014*Noar 2009a). Such interventions may also positively affect risk behaviors such as condom use (LaCroix 2014*Cochrane-Vidanapathirana 2005*) and number of sexual partners in some circumstances (Cochrane-Vidanapathirana 2005*). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Research suggests that the most effective mass media interventions define target populations, tailor messages to those populations (Pedrana 2013Keller 2002*, Noar 2009a), coordinate with existing interventions, and use multiple channels to disseminate messages (Keller 2002*, WHO-Bertrand 2006). Longer durations may increase campaign effectiveness (LaCroix 2014*). Mass media campaigns may be cost effective in populations with  low rates of HIV infection (Cohen 2004a).

Mass media interventions for HIV prevention appear to be more effective in areas with fewer resources than areas with greater resources; such campaigns also appear less effective in developed countries than in developing countries (LaCroix 2014*).

Impact on Disparities

Likely to increase disparities

Implementation Examples

There are a variety of mass media interventions addressing sexual and reproductive health issues in the United States. These interventions use media advocacy, public service announcements (PSAs), entertainment-education, and other media technologies (Keller 2008).

Implementation Resources

AIDSTAR - AIDSTAR-One. Behavioral interventions: Mass media and HIV prevention.

Citations - Evidence

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Cochrane-Wei 2011* - Wei C, Herrick A, Raymond H, et al. Social marketing interventions to increase HIV / STI testing uptake among men who have sex with men and male-to- female transgender women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;(9):CD009337.

Cochrane-Vidanapathirana 2005* - Vidanapathirana J, Abramson MJ, Forbes A, Fairley C. Mass media interventions for promoting HIV testing. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2005;(3):CD004775.

LaCroix 2014* - LaCroix JM, Snyder LB, Huedo-Medina TB, Johnson BT. Effectiveness of mass media interventions for HIV prevention, 1986-2013: A meta-analysis. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2014;66(Suppl 3):S329-40.

Noar 2009a - Noar SM, Palmgreen P, Chabot M, Dobransky N, Zimmerman RS. A 10-year systematic review of HIV/AIDS mass communication campaigns: Have we made progress? Journal of Health Communication. 2009;14(1):15-42.

Pedrana 2013 - Pedrana A, Hellard M, Gold J, et al. Queer as f**k: Reaching and engaging gay men in sexual health promotion through social networking sites. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2013;15(2):e25.

Keller 2002* - Keller SN, Brown JD. Media interventions to promote responsible sexual behavior. Journal of Sex Research. 2002;39(1):67-72.

WHO-Bertrand 2006 - Bertrand JT, Anhang R. The effectiveness of mass media in changing HIV/AIDS-related behavior among young people in developing countries. WHO Technical Report Series. 2006;938:205-41; discussion 317-41.

Cohen 2004a - Cohen DA, Wu SY, Farley TA. Comparing the cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2004;37(3):1404-14.

Citations - Implementation Examples

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Keller 2008 - Keller S. 3.0 Using media to address adolescent sexual health: Lessons learned at home. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy; 2008.

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