The findings and conclusions in these presentations have not been formally disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pilot Segmentation of Gay & Bisexual Men in Los Angeles: Sexual Practice Attitudes, Values, & Beliefs

Jorge A. Montoya1, Harlan Rotblatt2, Charlotte Kent3, Aaron Plant2, Marjan Javanbakht4, and Peter R. Kerndt2. (1) Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 2615 S. Grand Avenue, Room 500, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (2) Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (3) San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA, USA, (4) Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 957353, 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 540, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Health prevention messages are often designed to focus on either HIV positive men or HIV negative men. However, there are other factors that influence the response to health promotion messages. In the private sector, a desired market is segmented based on attitudes, values, and beliefs to prioritize and reach specific subgroups.

In an effort to design HIV prevention messages that are more effectively tailored to different subgroups of MSM, a segmentation was conducted with this group.

A convenience sample of 297 MSM (age 18 or older) living in Los Angeles were interviewed. Information was collected on testing behavior, sexual practices, venues used to find partners, HIV status and agreement ratings for values, attitudes, and beliefs around disclosure, drug use, gay community affiliation, gay identity, anonymous sex, multipartnerism, HIV seriousness, eroticism, and responsibility. A factor analysis was conducted on these agreement ratings that resulted in 8 factors. A hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on these 8 factors producing 5 distinct MSM “market” segments. Segments were then analyzed with respect to HIV serostatus, testing behavior, sexual practices, and venues used to find partners.

These 5 segments varied in terms of HIV disclosure, gay identity and affiliation, perceived social norms concerning sex, and values towards unrestricted sexual activity and drug use.

The use of this segmentation strategy can inform the development of health messages that are tailored to specific subgroups of men. For instance, a risk-reduction message could be used to target a high risk segment, while a different message could be used to reinforce current safer-sex practices in a low risk segment.

The pilot segmentation strategy demonstrates the utility and importance of targeting distinct subgroups in a social marketing campaign.