Exposure and impact of a mass media campaign targeting sexual health amongst Scottish men who have sex with men: an outcome evaluation

Paul Flowers, Lisa M. McDaid, Christina Knussen

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Background: This paper explores the exposure and impact of a Scottish mass media campaign: Make Your Position Clear. It ran from October 2009 to July 2010, targeted gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), and had two key aims: to promote regular sexual health and HIV testing every 6 months, and to promote the use of appropriate condoms and water-based lubricant with each episode of anal intercourse. Methods. A cross-sectional survey (anonymous and self-report) was conducted 10 months after the campaign was launched (July 2010). Men were recruited from commercial venues. Outcome measures included use of lubricant, testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and intentions to seek HIV testing within the following six months. Linear-by-linear chi-square analysis and binary logistic regressions were conducted to explore the associations between the outcome measures and campaign exposure. Results: The total sample was 822 men (62.6% response rate). Men self-identifying as HIV positive were excluded from the analysis (n = 38). Binary logistic analysis indicated that those with mid or high campaign exposure were more likely to have been tested for HIV in the previous six months when adjusted for age, area of residence and use of the "gay scene" (AOR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.26 to 3.06, p =.003), but were not more likely to be tested for STIs (AOR = 1.37, 95% CI = 0.88 to 2.16, p =.167). When adjusted for previous HIV testing, those with mid or high campaign exposure were not more likely to indicate intention to be tested for HIV in the following six months (AOR = 1.30, 95% CI = 0.73 to 2.32, p =.367). Those with no campaign exposure were less likely than those with low exposure to have used appropriate lubricant with anal sex partners in the previous year (AOR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.23 to 0.77, p =.005). Conclusions: The campaign had demonstrable reach. The analysis showed partial support for the role of mass media campaigns in improving sexual health outcomes. This suggests that a role for mass media campaigns remains within combination HIV prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2013


  • exposure
  • gay men
  • HIV test
  • mass media
  • sexual health

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