HIV prevention messaging has been shown to reduce or delay high-risk sexual behaviors in young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Since the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a new generation of YMSM has come of age during an evolution in communication modalities. Because both these communication technologies and this new generation remain understudied, the authors investigated the manner in which YMSM interact with HIV prevention messaging. In particular, the authors examined 6 venues in which YMSM are exposed to, pay attention to, and access HIV prevention information: the Internet, bars/dance clubs, print media, clinics/doctors' offices, community centers/agencies, and educational classes. Data were drawn from a community-based sample of 481 racially and ethnically diverse YMSM from New York City. Significant differences in exposure to HIV prevention messaging venues emerged with respect to age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Attention paid to HIV prevention messages in various venues differed by age and sexual orientation. Across all venues, multivariate modeling indicated YMSM were more likely to access HIV messaging from the same venues at which they paid attention, with some variability explained by person characteristics (age and perceived family socioeconomic status). This suggests that the one-size-fits-all approach does not hold true, and both the venue and person characteristics must be considered when generating and disseminating HIV prevention messaging.
Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, 18 (3)
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