Stop the drama Downunder: a social marketing campaign increases HIV/sexually transmitted infection knowledge and testing in Australian gay men

Sex Transm Dis. 2012 Aug;39(8):651-8. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318255df06.


Introduction: Since 2000, notifications of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased significantly in Australian gay men. We evaluated the impact of a social marketing campaign in 2008-2009 aimed to increase health-seeking behavior and STI testing and enhance HIV/STI knowledge in gay men.

Methods: A convenience sample of 295 gay men (18-66 years of age) was surveyed to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign. Participants were asked about campaign awareness, HIV/STI knowledge, health-seeking behavior, and HIV/STI testing. We examined associations between recent STI testing and campaign awareness. Trends in HIV/STI monthly tests at 3 clinics with a high case load of gay men were also assessed. Logistic and Poisson regressions and χ tests were used.

Results: Both unaided (43%) and aided (86%) campaign awareness was high. In a multivariable logistic regression, awareness of the campaign (aided) was independently associated with having had any STI test within the past 6 months (prevalence ratio = 1.5; 95% confidence interval = 1.0-2.4. Compared with the 13 months before the campaign, clinic data showed significant increasing testing rates for HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia among HIV-negative gay men during the initial and continued campaign periods.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that the campaign was successful in achieving its aims of increasing health-seeking behavior, STI testing, and HIV/STI knowledge among gay men in Victoria.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Awareness
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prevalence
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Marketing*
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / epidemiology
  • Syphilis / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult