Wednesday, March 12, 2008
As the rates of HIV and other STDs continue to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men, African American adolescents in San Francisco, traditional HIV/STD intervention efforts must be challenged. It is essential that public health programs raise the awareness and importance of testing and treatment for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Innovative strategies and messages are necessary to reach specific audiences in an effective manner.
To describe the process of a local public health department launching and marketing innovative STD/HIV awareness social marketing campaigns in collaboration with the social marketing agency.
These campaigns utilize a sex positive approach through a community-based participatory process; needs assessment data; a creative social marketing and public health team; dedicated street outreach staff; and advertising placement and marketing collateral.
We developed three innovative campaigns that were marketed in very distinct areas of San Francisco to address the rise in syphilis among gay and bisexual men and the health disparities of chlamydia and gonorrhea among African American adolescents. A successful cartoon penis, named Healthy Penis was developed to spread the word about syphilis testing; Dogs Are Talking campaign features dogs of various breeds as spokes models to encourage their guardians to maintain their sexual health and SexINFO – the first sexual health information text messaging service in the United States, which provides 11 options for teens to access health information and referrals in SF directly to their cell phone by texting the word SexINFO, and 61827, request the information needed, get the information texted back to their phone within a few minutes.
Social marketing campaigns can be launched and marketed effectively through a collaborative process of public health experts, a social marketing team and engagement with community partners.
A multi-component marketing strategy is essential to reach the target audience in an effective manner.