179268 Tune In HPV: A participatory web project presenting alternatives views of education, awareness, and experiences of Human Papillomavirus

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bree C. Kessler, MSW, MPH , Environmental Psychology, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY
Giovanna Chesler, MFA , School of Communication, American University, Washington DC, DC
Tune in HPV (www.tuneinhpv.com) is a participatory web channel developed to collect users' stories surrounding Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The website, built in partnership with the Center for Social Media at American University and the Washington D.C Department of Health, provides an opportunity to evaluate users' attitudes and knowledge about HPV and likewise, how health education material could be altered to better suit the needs of the website's users and the general population.

Current representations of HPV in the media eliminate the sexual component of the virus and have manufactured an image of those who are affected by the virus that does not adequately represent the range of individuals' experiences. Therefore, seeking to present alternative images of HPV awareness than those marketed through Merck's "One Less" campaign for Gardasil (their HPV vaccine), users were invited to submit personal accounts responding to several prompts. Common themes emerged from users' stories such as concerns regarding exposure to HPV, treatment options, and costs of the vaccine. In addition, users' postings were then coded in order to better understand if the users' narratives reproduced similar language and images to those evident in Merck's commercials or of readily available health education materials. The analysis shows that users' experiences relating to HPV and the vaccine are highly varied depending on factors such as race, age, and geographic location.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the use of a participatory methodology to collect web users' experiences 2. Define the current dominant discourses surrounding HPV treatment and education. 3. Analyze web users' stories in order to identify the alternative views of HPV present in the general population.

Keywords: Reproductive Health, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have analyzed the data for this project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.