P42 Simple Decision. Simple Test. Simple Cure: Findings From CDC Formative Research & Next Steps for a National Chlamydia Screening Campaign

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Pre-Function Lobby & Grand Ballroom D2/E (M4) (Omni Hotel)
Allison Friedman, MS1, Bonny Bloodgood2, Elise Levine3, Derek Inokuchi, MHS, CHES4 and Jim Bender3, 1Division of STD Prevention, CDC, NCHHSTP, Atlanta, GA, 2AED, Washington DC, 3Academy for Educational Development, Washington DC, 4Center for Health Communication, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC

Background: Chlamydia (CT) is a leading cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility. Over one million cases of CT were reported by CDC in 2007, with the highest rate among 15-to-24 year-old females.

Objectives: To inform a national CT screening campaign, CDC explored young women’s understanding of, and communication/messaging preferences regarding CT and STD/CT testing.

Methods: Two phases of open, ethnographic interviews were conducted with sexually active African-American, Caucasian & Hispanic females across four regions of the US. Participants were recruited through professional firms & segmented by age and working/in-school status. Phase 1 (phone interview) findings guided Phase 2 (in-person interviews), which in turn guided message and concept development. Interviews were transcribed and coded by three independent researchers using NVivo2.

Results: A total of 125 females were interviewed by phone (n=80) and in-person (n=45). Participants tended to dichotomize STDs as curable or incurable, with CT generally viewed as curable. Understandings of CT, STDs and CT/STD testing were very limited. Seven major barriers to testing, including lack of awareness, fear, and confidentiality/stigma concerns were identified. ‘Knowing your status’ was the main perceived benefit to testing.  Certain messages, including those highlighting CT’s asymptomatic nature, a simple diagnosis & cure, overcoming embarrassment/stigma, and empowerment/support, were reported to motivate intentions to seek testing across segments. Other themes and communication preferences varied by segment and STD experience/history.

Conclusions: Certain messages may have broad appeal to motivate CT testing across age, race/ethnicity, and lifestyle segments. Other, more targeted approaches may be more effective for specific segments. STD experience/history emerged as a potentially salient segmentation variable.

Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: These findings led to the development of messages and concepts, which will be shared. Audience-tested communication strategies can be leveraged by state and local partners for the promotion of CT screening at the local level.

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