Sixth Mass Media Campaign on Safer Sex in Russia
The programme was implemented under the GLOBUS project with the financial support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.Implemented by:
AIDS Foundation East-West (AFEW)
Ten regions of the Russian Federation: Buryatia, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Orenburg, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Tomsk, Tver, Vologda.Project duration:
July 2005 - July 2006
Prior to 2002, more than 90% of people with HIV in Russia were injecting drug users. However, the proportion of people who contracted the disease through sexual contact began to steadily increase in the early years of this century. In some parts of Russia (Moscow, Tver Region, Krasnoyarsk Region, etc.), 2005 figures revealed that more than 50% of new cases of HIV were attributable to unprotected sexual intercourse. At the time of the campaign launch, the number of young people with HIV had also began to increase markedly, and in certain regions the number of newly infected women already exceeded the number of infected men.
AFEW recognised that at this stage the problem was not so much a medical, as a social and economic problem. The response that AFEW developed then and continues to implement to this day centred on implementing comprehensive measures: providing access to treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, raising the public's level of awareness about HIV, fighting discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and working with the regional and federal authorities to fight the epidemic. As part of their efforts under the GLOBUS Project, FOCUS-MEDIA Foundation and AFEW coordinated eight national media campaigns from 2004-2009 to reach people in the 10 project regions with HIV/AIDS prevention messages. The sixth mass media campaign was particularly slanted towards young people with an emphasis on young women between the ages of 15 and 18.
What We Have Achieved
Through radio and TV commercials, posters on public transport, billboard advertising and leaflets, AFEW significantly raised awareness of HIV/AIDS among young people and the general public in the project regions. Research on public attitudes towards HIV/AIDS was carried out prior to and following the campaign – including opinion polls, in-depth interviews with target groups and focus groups. The final assessments concluded that over 70% of the target group in these regions had seen the campaign materials and had correctly understood the message.
The campaign messages were designed to achieve the following objectives:
Objectives for promoting knowledge:
- To reduce misconceptions that saliva, insect bites, dishes or handshakes can spread the HIV virus;
- To raise awareness that condoms are the most reliable, convenient and safe means of protection against HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancies.
Objectives for shaping attitudes:
- To increase levels of personal responsibility for safe sexual practices and improve young people's (especially young women’s) understanding of their individual risk of contracting HIV;
- To reinforce the existing attitude that using condoms is the norm (especially among young women).
Objectives for shaping behaviour:
- To motivate young people to speak openly to their partners about using condoms and other sexual health issues;
- To reinforce the norm of using condoms and other safe sex methods;
- To strengthen young people's (especially young women’s) ability to say no to sex (including safe sex) if they do not feel certain that they are ready to become sexually active.