Adult sexual health campaign: Evaluation research (wave 2)
Summary of findings
- Just below one third of all respondents recognised any of the media that was shown to them. This level of recognition was lower than might have been expected given the amount of spend, and in light of the results of qualitative research, which suggested the material had a high impact and comparison with other campaigns.
- Encouragingly, however, recognition was highest amongst both males and females aged 18-21 at 41%. Recognition was also higher (41%) amongst those respondents who had had more than one partner in the past 12 months.
- Communication was broadly on target: the most prominent spontaneous take-out message was that of using a condom/ protection or practising “safe sex”, mentioned by around two-thirds (67%) of the sample
- The perception that the adverts were emphasising the personal risk of catching STIs/STDs came through at a lower level with 16% of respondents making any specific mention of STIs or STDs
- Claimed knowledge about STIs/STDs was high: 61% of respondents claimed to know a lot or a fair amount about STIs/STDs and 75% to know a lot or fair amount about how to protect oneself from STIs/STDs.
- Recognition and awareness tended to be higher amongst key target groups (younger respondents and those with more than one partner in the past 12 months) and the advertising message was better received by respondents in the more at risk lifestyle segments.
- Although there was little change in attitudes from Wave 1 to 2 at the total level, there was some suggestion that more respondents agreed that the risk of STIs/STDs has increased: 70% agreed overall at Wave 2 compared to 66% at Wave 1.
- The potential for the campaign to influence perceptions can be seen by examining the reactions of the “spontaneously aware group”, who were aware of the “Sex Lottery” campaign at a “top-of-mind” level. They perceived a higher risk generally of STIs/STDs in recent times, a greater personal risk to themselves and displayed higher confidence in their ability to protect themselves. They were also less likely to agree that “it’s very difficult to talk about having an STD/STI” and “The subject of STIs/STDs is still taboo”. It will be necessary to follow these perceptions carefully in the future to demonstrate a clear and strong impact of the campaign.
The key objective of the research was to monitor the effectiveness of the campaign. This broad aim encompasses the following specific goals:
- measure awareness and recognition of the communications
- investigate levels of perceived relevance of the messages
- track changes in broad attitudes to sexual behaviour and especially those relating to the specific campaign messages, such as attitudes to using condoms
With regard to the third objective it was acknowledged from the outset that attitudinal and behavioural change was likely to be a long-term rather than a short term achievement of the campaign. Hence, expectations of initial campaign impact focused primarily on the first two objectives.
The first National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV was formulated by the Department of Health in July 2002. It is a strategy which “aims to modernise sexual health and HIV services in England” and to “address the rising prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and of HIV, and to put these in a broader sexual health context” . To spearhead this strategy, in November 2002, the Department of Health launched an advertising-led campaign. Broadly, the goals of the campaign were:
- to inform the public about STIs/STDs and HIV – their symptoms, seriousness and possible long-terms effects
- to highlight the personal relevance and danger of these sexually transmitted diseases
- to encourage safe sex and behaviours like using condoms amongst the sexually active (de-stigmatise and normalise condom usage)
- ultimately, to reduce the transmission of STIs/STDs, HIV and the incidence of unwanted pregnancies.
The advertising campaign, launched in November 2002, included two radio advertisement sequences, an assortment of press executions, interactive banners and ambient media including “Hit Squads” equipped with scratch cards targeting universities, pubs and bars as well as washroom posters and beer mats. The target audience was heterosexuals aged between 18-30 years old.
The sample consisted of a main sample, representative of the 18-30 year old population, and a separate “boost” sample of students living in university managed accommodation. This group make up an important part of the target audience and are not universally covered by traditional sampling techniques, which exclude individuals living in institutions of any sort. A segmentation analysis was carried out which split respondents into four groups: Quiet Lifers, Conservatives, Sociables and Experimentals. In reality, a continuum of behaviours and attitudes is represented within the population; the analysis, however, draws lines within this continuum in order to define groups that are most similar in their social attitudes and can be used for analysis and comparison
Data collection methodology
Other data collection methodology
A random location sampling approach was used, to ensure that the sample achieved was representative of adults 18-30 years in England. Sample points were selected from the TNS sampling frame. Utilising 1991 Census small area statistics and the Post Office Address File (PAF), TNS has divided the country into 600 areas of equal population. To eliminate any bias resulting from extra interviews with students and to correct for minor demographic imbalances in the achieved sample, the data was weighted at analysis to known population statistics.
In Wave 2 a total of 650 interviews were conducted: 608 with adults aged 18-30 in the main sample and a further 42 with students living in university managed accommodation.
The regional breakdown of interviews was geographically representative.
Wave 2: 16th June- 20th July 2003
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