A 10-year systematic review of HIV/AIDS mass communication campaigns: have we made progress?
The purpose of the current study was to conduct a 10-year systematic review of HIV/AIDS mass communication campaigns focused on sexual behavior, HIV testing, or both (1998-2007) and to compare the results with the last comprehensive review of such campaigns, conducted by Myhre and Flora (2000). A comprehensive search strategy yielded 38 HIV/AIDS campaign evaluation articles published in peer-reviewed journals, representing 34 distinct campaign efforts conducted in 23 countries. The articles were coded on a variety of campaign design and evaluation dimensions by two independent coders. Results indicated that compared with the previous systematic review (1986-1998 period), campaigns increasingly have employed the following strategies: (1) targeted defined audiences developed through audience segmentation procedures; (2) designed campaign themes around behavior change (rather than knowledge change); (3) used behavioral theories; (4) achieved high message exposure; (5) used stronger research designs for outcome evaluation; and (6) included measures of behavior (or behavioral intentions) in outcome assessments. In addition, an examination of 10 campaign efforts that used more rigorous quasi-experimental designs revealed that the majority (8 of 10) demonstrated effects on behavior change or behavioral intentions. Despite these positive developments, most HIV/AIDS campaigns continue to use weak (i.e., preexperimental) outcome evaluation designs. Implications of these results for improved design, implementation, and evaluation of HIV/AIDS campaign efforts are discussed.