In 2017-2019, the Sexual Health Messaging Project seeks to identify the preferred messages, messengers, and communication channels/formats – and the cultural factors influencing effective messaging – relevant to African American, Hispanic/Latino, AI/AN, and sexual/gender minority (SGM) teens in sexual health promotion topics. This will be accomplished through four project aims:
- Conducting a review of barriers, facilitators, and message content and formats for effective prevention of STI/HIV and pregnancy among adolescents by race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity in the scientific literature, with an eye to differences and commonalities across groups.
- Conducting focus groups and interviews in Houston, TX and the Pacific Northwest (OR, WA, ID) with 150+ middle and high school age youth self-identifying as African American, Hispanic/Latino, AI/AN, and/or SGM. The purpose of these efforts is to identify teen sexual health information needs, preferred sources of sexual health information, accessibility of various formats, and barriers to action.
- Consulting with a panel of at least 20 experts in the areas of adolescent health promotion, cultural competency (across racial/ethnic and SGM identities), and health communication to achieve consensus on the findings of the literature review and youth focus groups. The outcome of this process will be the identification of the messages and formats expected to be most effective in promoting abstinence, condom use, and STI/HIV testing.
- Confirming project findings and expert consensus through a second round of teen focus groups, including responses to messages delivered via mass media and multimedia technologies. This final phase will generate recommendations for sexual health messaging for adolescents that are specific to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and age.
This four-phase process will result in recommendations that are both practical and based on scientific evidence of effectiveness.