The District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) released a report on Monday that showed its social marketing campaign to prevent HIV in DC has been successful.
The five-year campaign focused on educating the public on getting tested for HIV, accessing free condoms and defending one another from the virus.
The success of the campaign were determined through a survey defining whether the campaign influenced DC citizens’ mindfulness, understanding and actions toward HIV. Phone interviews were conducted from Jan. 3 to Feb. 9 as part of the study conducted by Braun Research Inc. The 810 participants were DC residents ages 20-64.
Survey results showed that the Ask for the Test campaign caused an increase of DC residents to submit to HIV testing, and the Rubber Revolution campaign correlates with DC residents purchasing an increased number of condoms.
The final study report, titled “DC Takes On HIV: Public Awareness, Resident Engagement and a Call to Action," stated that 36 percent of the survey participants said that the campaign influenced their protective behavior. While 17 percent reported that they received testing for HIV, 28 percent reported they increased the frequency of using condoms. All of these participants linked their changed behaviors to the social marketing campaign.
The report said these factors have contributed to lessening HIV/AIDS cases in the DC area. HIV/AIDS treatments and enrollments have also been made more accessible to DC citizens.
“We know that DC Takes on HIV and its companion campaigns work,” Dr. Joxel Garcia, director of the DC Department of Health, said. “Reaching residents in their homes, or on the way to school or work is one of the best ways to connect residents to the array of HIV-prevention resources we offer. Providing those resources is the first step to combatting HIV. Connecting residents across the city to these resources is equally important.”