Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Role of Fear in HIV Prevention

We've been rather animated on this topic of late, owing to the repugnant new "It's Never Just HIV" campaign from the wizards at the NYC Dept of Public Health.

Guess what, fear doesn't work. Check out this short, well-sourced brief on the role of fear in HIV prevention strategies and learn why.

And if you're too lazy, here are the 5 key points:

• Fear arousing imagery can be good at attracting attention and is often memorable.

• Fear-based campaigns are more persuasive for individuals who are already engaging in the desired, health-protective, behaviour.

• Arousing fear in individuals can have many unintended consequences, such as denial or othering.

• Most homosexually active men are already fearful of HIV.

• Arousing fear is not an effective means of facilitating sexual behaviour change.

*** Also of interest, from the American Journal of Public Health (1988) Effective and ineffective use of fear in health promotion campaigns.


1 comment:

  1. Paranoia, fear might give some people a better chance at changing behavior, lowering their risk of exposure to infection. Nature is a powerful force, for most of us the biological imperative is greater than attempting to change. Preventative measures, so called safer sex, condoms go against how nature has programmed us, no thinking, spontaneity, go ahead with sexual opportunities. The evolution of a species depends on nature's program.


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