KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Kaiser Family Foundation, MTV To Continue ‘Fight for Your Rights’ Sexual Health Awareness Campaign

The Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV on Wednesday announced that they will continue the award-winning sexual health public awareness campaign "Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself" for a seventh year in order to "continue to inform and empower young people about critical sexual health issues," according to a Kaiser Family Foundation release. The campaign, which began in 1997, includes special programming, public service announcements, a comprehensive sexual health Web site, grassroots events and advocacy opportunities, a free sexual health guide and an "extensive" resource and referral service that connects viewers to local testing and counseling. MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation plan to continue producing PSAs and full-length programs to "dramatize the importance and impact of HIV/AIDS and other sexual health issues on young people, as well as timely news segments on MTV News," according to the release. Brian Graden, president of entertainment for MTV and VH1, said, "The decision to extend the Protect Yourself campaign was an easy one. This campaign has had an incredible, measurable impact on young people by changing their attitudes and behavior on a topic of critical importance." Tina Hoff, vice president and director of entertainment media partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "To reach young people in a meaningful way with crucial information that will affect their sexual health, you need to go where they go and speak their language. MTV is uniquely positioned to do just that."

Survey Data
The Kaiser Family Foundation on Wednesday also released a survey, titled "Reaching the MTV Generation: Recent Research on the Impact of the Kaiser Family Foundation/MTV Public Education Campaign on Sexual Health," with results showing that more than one in two teenagers between the ages of 16 and 24 recognize the Fight for Your Rights campaign. Kaiser Family Foundation researchers, in consultation with Princeton Survey Research Associates, designed and analyzed a telephone survey of 1,100 young people, which PSRA conducted between Jan. 27, 2003, and April 6, 2003. Researchers obtained parental permission from participants younger than 18. Among the 42% of respondents classified as "definite viewers" of the campaign, 73% said the campaign made them "more likely to take sexual relationships more seriously." Among viewers who are not yet sexually active, 66% said the campaign made them more likely to wait to have sex. In addition, 49% of viewers said that they have talked with their partner about safer sex because of the campaign, and 24% of viewers who are sexually active said they have been tested for HIV or other STDs because of the campaign. Vicky Rideout, vice president and director of the Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health at the Kaiser Family Foundation and director of the study, said, "Whatever their age, race or gender, young people who saw this campaign were more likely than those who didn't to report being concerned about HIV, using condoms regularly and getting tested for the virus," adding, "No media campaign is going to be the one thing that changes someone's behavior, but it is certainly encouraging to see the positive impact this one appears to be having" (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 12/10).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.