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Miami study: Anti-syphilis social-marketing campaign failed with gay men in South Florida

Abstract from American Journal of Public Health:

William W. Darrow, PhD and Susan Biersteker, Drs

William W. Darrow is with the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Robert R. Stempel School of Public Health, Florida International University, Biscayne Bay Campus, North Miami. Susan Biersteker is with Behavioral Research and Evaluation Consultants, LLC, Miami Beach, Florida.

Correspondence: Requests for reprints should be sent to William W. Darrow, Florida International University, 3000 NE 151st St, TR–7, North Miami, FL 33181–3600 (e-mail darroww@fiu.edu ).

Objectives. We carried out an independent short-term impact evaluation of a social marketing campaign designed to reduce syphilis infections among men who have sex with men in south Florida in 2004. 

Methods. Venue-based surveys were conducted shortly after the campaign began and 6 months later to assess changes in exposure to campaign materials, awareness, knowledge about syphilis, perceptions of risk, sexual behavior, clinic visits, and testing and treatment for syphilis among participants. 

Results. Exposure to social marketing campaign materials increased from 18.0% at baseline to 36.5% at follow-up (P< .001). Awareness of syphilis and perceptions of risk increased among Broward County residents but not among Miami–Dade County residents. Risky sexual practices and patterns of recreational drug use did not change. No significant increases in knowledge, clinic visits, or testing or treatment for syphilis among participants were detected over the 6-month study period. 

Conclusions. None of the campaign objectives were fully met. The interventions were insufficient to produce a significant impact among men who have sex with men in south Florida.


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I blogged about this study today on my site and it pleases me to see it's getting some attention down in Miami. The gay male community really needs to address all these social marketing campaigns targeting us, and demand proof the ads are improving gay health.

Thanks. For those who haven't seen Michael Petrelis' website, it's Petrelis Files, http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/

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