Project period: 05/13/2005 - 05/12/2006
Grant Type: Pilot Project
This project will conduct formative research to better understand the appropriate messages, delivery systems, and messengers for a social marketing campaign seeking to reach 13-18 year olds at risk of contracting HIV in Bridgeport, CT. Bridgeport youth demonstrate high risk of contracting HIV as demonstrated by high rates of STDs and a disproportionate impact of HIV among African Americans and Latinos. 15-24 year olds in Bridgeport have gonorrhea and Chlamydia case rates 2-10 times that of this age group in the state as a whole, and among them African American and Hispanic youth have case rates 10-200 times that in among state residents in total. This project will conduct 8 focus groups of young people (13-18 years old) seeking to understand their primary source of HIV prevention information and find natural places for delivering HIV prevention messages (e.g. radio, public service announcements in movie theaters, public information campaigns on public transit or on billboards, web-based education methods, etc.). While focus groups cannot give a complete picture of the best communication modes of all young people, this effort, which will target high risk youth, will be most helpful in understanding the complex concerns and issues that these young people face and the best methods to reach them with HIV prevention information. Moreover, Bridgeport offers a relatively social marketing naive population with regards to HIV prevention messages. There have been few social marketing campaigns in this region seeking to reach young people. This project will develop effective messages to high risk youth in one of the epicenters of the AIDS epidemic in CT. As a pilot project, it will elucidate the needs of these young people and support the development of a full scale effort which will include the development and evaluation of the social marketing campaign plan developed in these focus groups.