Monday, December 13, 2010

The Role of Fear in HIV Prevention - Attention Grabbing, But Does it Work?

We've been rather animated on this topic of late, owing to the controversial new "It's Never Just HIV" campaign from the NYC Dept of Public Health.

The long and short of it is - fear doesn't work. Check out this short, well-sourced brief from Sigma on the role of fear in HIV prevention strategies and learn why.

Here are the 5 key points:

• Fear arousing imagery can be good at attracting attention and is often memorable.

• Fear-based campaigns are more persuasive for individuals who are already engaging in the desired, health-protective, behaviour.

• Arousing fear in individuals can have many unintended consequences, such as denial or othering.

• Most homosexually active men are already fearful of HIV.

• Arousing fear is not an effective means of facilitating sexual behaviour change.

*** Also of interest, from the American Journal of Public Health (1988) Effective and ineffective use of fear in health promotion campaigns.


[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article's content, whether in support or in opposition.]

1 comment:

IRMA said...

Should you want to engage on this issue directly with the NYC Dept of Public Health -

Send comments to Nichole Melendez (Administrative Assistant to Dr. Monica Sweeney, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control at the NYC Health Department.

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