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AIDS Education: Reaching Populations at Higher Risk

NCJ Number
Date Published
86 pages
This study examines what lessons about the design of effective health education can be learned from previous public health research and how these lessons can be applied to the education of populations at relatively high risk for AIDS.
The research reviewed studies of the effects of health education on people's knowledge and behavior. It also interviewed experts in public health, mass communication, and marketing to discuss the implications of previous research for education to prevent AIDS. To learn about current AIDS campaigns, researchers interviewed AIDS coordinators in five U.S. cities with the highest current incidence of AIDS cases. The lessons derived from previous research form a seven-step model of health education. The steps are specifying the target group, identifying characteristics placing the group at risk, selecting the media likely to reach that group, determining the information to be covered, developing risk-reduction skills, providing motivators for risk reduction, and specifying the intended outcomes of the message. Field investigations indicate that this model can be applied to AIDS education. This report recommends that the Secretary of Health and Human Services call for the collection of data by which the relative effectiveness of campaign components can be assessed. The second recommendation suggests to the Congress that if AIDS legislation now pending is passed, such legislation should require the Department of Health and Human Services to report on its progress in assessing the effectiveness of various campaign components. 100-item bibliography.