Project iMPPACS is a mass media intervention focused on HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention among high-risk African American adolescents. An experimental study found a range of impacts on social-cognitive beliefs (e.g., self-efficacy to refuse sex, intentions to use condoms, expectations regarding condom negotiation), some of which only applied to youth who were sexually experienced or older adolescents. No impact was found on the number of recent sexual partners, but the study found an impact on reducing the likelihood of having unprotected sex among older adolescents.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: African American adolescents
Project iMPPACS is a mass media intervention involving culturally sensitive television and radio commercials aimed at promoting condom use and preventing STIs among African American adolescents. Over a 3 year period, a variety of messages ran during after school hours, evenings, and weekends on channels that were popular among African American adolescents. On average, there were about 3 television and 3 radio spots per month per audience member. The themes of the messages included emphasizing that condoms can help increase pleasure by reducing stress during sex about STIs or pregnancy, that waiting to initiate sex shows maturity and respect for one’s partner, and that condoms should be used even with a steady partner (Romer et al, 2009).
EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM
Sznitman, S., Vanable, P. A., Carey, M. P., Hennessy, M., Brown, L. K., Valois, R. F., Stanton, B.F., Salazar, L.F., DiClemente, R., Farber, N., & Romer, D. (2011). Using culturally sensitive media messages to reduce HIV-associated sexual behavior in high-risk African American adolescents: results from a randomized trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(3), 244-251.
Evaluated population: The final sample included a total of 1,346 African American adolescents aged 14-17 years from 4 cities with high STI, HIV, and teen pregnancy rates. Two cities were randomized to receive the Project iMPPACS media campaign and two cities acted as no treatment control groups. The sample was 57 percent female and had a mean age of 15 years. Levels of sexual experience were not significantly different between cities. Overall, 56 percent had been sexually active before the study, 30 percent initiated sexual activity during the study period, and 14 percent reported no lifetime sexual experience throughout the study period.
Approach: Individual-level data on sexual activity, sex-refusal self-efficacy, norms, beliefs, intentions, and use of condoms were assessed using self-report at baseline and 3-, 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-up. Participants who tested positive for STIs at recruitment or the 6- or 12-month follow-up had been excluded from the analysis in order to separate the impact of the intervention from the STI treatment and counseling that was offered to participants who tested positive for STIs during the study. Analyses accounted for the fact that the participants were grouped by cities.
Results: Among all youth, those in the intervention cities that received Project iMPPACS had reduced negative expectancies regarding condom negotiation and were less likely to have the expectation that condoms are not needed with “safe” partners compared with youth in the control cities. The impact on the expectation around condoms with “safe” partners was especially strong among sexually experienced youth. Additionally, among youth who had not initiated sexual activity throughout the study, as time went on, those in the intervention cities were less likely to have the expectation that condoms are not needed with “safe” partners while those in the control cities were more likely. Sexually experienced adolescents in the intervention cities had higher self-efficacy to refuse sex as well as higher intentions to use condoms compared with those in the control cities throughout the intervention. There was no impact on these outcomes among adolescents who initiated sexual activity during the study or those who had not initiated sexual activity. Older adolescents (ages 16-17) in the intervention cities were less likely to believe that condoms hindered pleasure throughout the study and were less likely to have unprotected sex as time went on compared with those in the control cities, but there was no impact on these outcomes among younger adolescents (ages 14-15). Finally, among all youth, there was no impact on the number of recent vaginal sexual partners.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Romer, D., Sznitman, S., DiClemente, R., Salazar, L. F., Vanable, P. A., Carey, M. P., Hennessy, M., Brown, L.K., Valois, R.F., Stanton, B.F., Fortune, T., & Juzang, I. (2009). Mass media as an HIV-prevention strategy: Using culturally sensitive messages to reduce HIV-associated sexual behavior of at-risk African American youth. American Journal of Public Health, 99(12), 2150-2159.
Sznitman, S., Vanable, P. A., Carey, M. P., Hennessy, M., Brown, L. K., Valois, R. F., Stanton, B.F., Salazar, L.F., DiClemente, R., Farber, N., & Romer, D. (2011). Using culturally sensitive media messages to reduce HIV-associated sexual behavior in high-risk African American adolescents: Results from a randomized trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(3), 244-251.
Annenberg Public Policy Center
202 S. 36th Street
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6220
KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17), Males and Females (Co-ed), Black/African American, Community or Media Campaign, Sexual Activity, Condom Use and Contraception, Other Reproductive Health
Program information last updated on 2/5/13