Using Print Media for STD Prevention

Reflections of a Journalist/Public Health Researcher

Published in: AIDS Patient Care and STDs, v. 13, no. 12, Dec. 1999, p. 689-693

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1999

by Janet Lever

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Media sources, including the Internet, are more likely than physicians, family, and friends to be the source of information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their prevention. In this commentary the author uses her experience as a health policy researcher, educator, and health writer to show how journalists, health-care providers, and researchers can work together to improve media messages about STDs. Referencing a monthly column that she and a colleague wrote for Glamour magazine, the author focuses on approaches taken to inform readers about condoms and how to overcome barriers to their use. She underscores the need for innovative approaches to gain readers' interest, for example, using a simple chart exposing people's false sense of security about unprotected sex to reinforce the message that STDs are preventable with consistent condom use. The author also provides tips on how to get media help with disseminating news about STDs.

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