257141 A social marketing campaign to reduce homophobia in Milwaukee, WI

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anneke Mohr, MPH, MSW , Population Health Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Shawnika J. Hull, PhD , School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Gary Hollander, PhD , Diverse and Resilient, Inc., Milwaukee, WI
William L. Jeffries IV, PhD MPH MA , Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Luis Garcia, PhD , Center for AIDS Intervention Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Mari Gasiorowicz, MA , AIDS/HIV Program, WI Division of Public Health, Madison, WI
Kofi Short , Diverse and Resilient, Inc, Milwaukee, WI
HIV incidence increased among gay and bisexual men ages 13-29 years in Milwaukee during 2000-2008. A 2009 epidemiologic investigation suggested that community-level homophobia contributed to behaviors that increased HIV risk in this population. Through a partnership that included a community-based organization, two universities, a state and local health department, and a federal agency, we designed a social marketing intervention to address homophobia experienced by young gay and bisexual men in Milwaukee. Results from a community readiness assessment and focus groups suggested that a community-wide social marketing campaign emphasizing the journey toward “acceptance” might be the best strategy to decrease homophobia in Milwaukee. The campaign, “Acceptance Journeys,” displays professional photographs of accepting heterosexual family members, friends, and coworkers with their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender loved ones. These photographs are featured on story cards and billboards and are accompanied by radio advertisements disseminated throughout the city. The campaign frames overcoming homophobic attitudes as a journey that can take a variety of forms. To measure the efficacy of the campaign, we used pre- and post-test surveys to assess temporal changes in attitudes regarding homosexuality. Baseline data were collected from African American and Caucasian adult residents of Milwaukee and, for comparison, St. Louis and Cleveland (N=1180). Analyses of these data are ongoing and will help determine if the campaign was efficacious in reducing homophobic attitudes. Given increasing incidence of HIV infection among young gay and bisexual men throughout the United States, other jurisdictions might consider similar or other interventions to reduce homophobia.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the role that homophobia plays in increasing the HIV risk behaviors and conditions for young African American gay and bisexual men; 2.Identify the merits of social marketing as a strategy to address homophobia and other stigmatizing attitudes; 3.Name steps and tools used to develop and evaluate a social marketing campaign that addresses homophobia.

Keywords: Social Marketing, Homophobia

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In consultation with community and academic partners, I developed the evaluation tool used to assess the impact of the social marketing campaign.
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.