Background: Entertainment-education television programmes provide opportunities to deliver effective sexual health promotion. Our service featured in six reality TV programmes: “Unsafe Sex in the City“(Firecracker Films) following real patients and staff in common STI and HIV testing scenarios. Programmes also featured patient background stories and were developed in dramatic and humorous style. The show was broadcast on BBC 3, a public service channel aimed at 16-34 year olds, the group at highest risk of STIs in the UK. We sampled staff and clinic attendee opinions to assess whether this format demonstrated features of entertainment, identification, viewer engagement and effective health education messages; and how acceptable such filming was to staff.
Methods: Questionnaires were distributed to staff and attendees during the programme broadcast period (October – November 2013).
Results: 194 attendee responses: 109 female (56%) and 175 (91%) aged 16-34. One in four attended because of viewing the shows.
- 32 (35%) felt the patient stories were similar to theirs.
- 59 (65%) agreed the show was entertaining.
- 70 (77%) felt the show was informative about sexual health and HIV.
- 18 (53%) agreed patient stories were similar to our clinic attendees.
- 17 (50%) found the programmes entertaining.
- 17 (50%) found the programmes informative.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that health promotion via reality television is acceptable and can lead to increased viewer knowledge and hence behaviour change.