Using culturally sensitive media messages to reduce HIV-associated sexual behavior in high-risk African American adolescents: results from a randomized trial

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Sep;49(3):244-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Abstract

Purpose: To test the long-term effects of a mass media intervention that used culturally and developmentally appropriate messages to enhance human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-preventive beliefs and behavior of high-risk African American adolescents.

Methods: Television and radio messages were delivered for more than 3 years in two cities (Syracuse, NY; and Macon, GA) that were randomly selected within each of the two regionally matched city pairs, with the other cities (Providence, RI; and Columbia, SC) serving as controls. African American adolescents, aged 14-17 years (N = 1,710), recruited in the four cities over a 16-month period, completed audio computer-assisted self-interviews at recruitment and again at 3, 6, 12, and 18-months postrecruitment to assess the long-term effects of the media program. To identify the unique effects of the media intervention, youth who completed at least one follow-up and who did not test positive for any of the three sexually transmitted infections at recruitment or at 6-and 12-month follow-up were retained for analysis (N = 1,346).

Results: The media intervention reached virtually all the adolescents in the trial and produced a range of effects including improved normative condom-use negotiation expectancies and increased sex refusal self-efficacy. Most importantly, older adolescents (aged 16-17 years) exposed to the media program showed a less risky age trajectory of unprotected sex than those in the nonmedia cities.

Conclusion: Culturally tailored mass media messages that are delivered consistently over time have the potential to reach a large audience of high-risk adolescents, to support changes in HIV-preventive beliefs, and to reduce HIV-associated risk behaviors among older youth.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology*
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Harm Reduction
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Risk-Taking
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Education / methods*
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data