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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Designing the “I Know” Social Marketing Campaign to Promote Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing Among Young Women of Color in Urban Los Angeles

Jorge A. Montoya, Christopher M. O'Leary, Aaron Plant, Harlan Rotblatt, and Peter Kerndt. Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 2615 S. Grand Avenue, Room 500, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Women under age 25 have disproportionate STD morbidity. In Los Angeles County, CA, this is particularly true among women of color (WOC). Latinas and African American women under age 25 account for 43% of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, but only 10% of the population. A social marketing campaign was developed to promote routine chlamydia and gonorrhea testing among young WOC.

Describe the process undertaken to develop a targeted social marketing campaign promoting chlamydia and gonorrhea testing among WOC under age 25.

A media campaign was developed according to commercial marketing principals. These included attention to theoretical principles, input from community partners, and a series of focus groups with young Latina and African-American women in English and Spanish. The results from these activities were used to create marketing concepts that were further tested with focus groups. Finally, the concepts were refined into a multimedia campaign.

WOC younger than 25 know little about STDs and maintain varied sexual relationships including monogamy, and “friends with benefits” (nonexclusive sexual relations). They believe that Pap smears provided a complete battery of STD tests and were impressed by STDs' symptoms and effects on fertility. Some expressed negative feelings about regular testing for STDs. Finally, these women are easiest to reach via varied media including publications and electronic media. These lessons were combined into the “I Know” campaign.

Commercial marketing techniques were incorporated from the beginning of the “I Know” social marketing campaign. This resulted in incorporation of young WOC's values and beliefs about sexuality, STDs, regular testing, fertility and idiomatic language in a campaign promoting regular STD testing.

Techniques used in commercial marketing can provide insights for use in social marketing among WOC. Particularly useful insights include women's values, beliefs and language.