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This study investigated the impact of a small media campaign to reduce syphilis through testing, treatment, and condom use in two urban predominantly African-American communities with high syphilis rates.
Data were collected from intervention and comparison zip codes using cross sectional street intercept interviews at baseline and 2 years later (n = 1630) following a small media syphilis prevention campaign with role model story posters, billboards, and other merchandise. Community businesses and a community based organisation served as partners, distributing condoms and small media.
Comparing intervention with comparison zip codes, there were significant increases in condom use in last sexual act, and some aspects of knowledge of syphilis. However, there was significant cross contamination of media impact, with respondents in the comparison zip code seeing an average of two media items compared with three in the intervention zip code. Media exposure was associated with significant increases in knowledge of syphilis, testing, and condom use.
Targeted community based small media interventions using community partners for distribution are effective in increasing syphilis knowledge, testing, and condom use.