Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Exposure and impact of a mass media campaign targeting sexual health amongst Scottish men who have sex with men: an outcome evaluation

Paul Flowers1, Lisa M McDaid2 and Christina Knussen1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Psychology and Allied Health Sciences, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow G4 0BA, UK

2 MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, 4 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:737  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-737

Published: 8 August 2013



This paper explores the exposure and impact of a Scottish mass media campaign: Make Your Position Clear. It ran from October 2009 to July 2010, targeted gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), and had two key aims: to promote regular sexual health and HIV testing every 6 months, and to promote the use of appropriate condoms and water-based lubricant with each episode of anal intercourse.


A cross-sectional survey (anonymous and self-report) was conducted 10 months after the campaign was launched (July 2010). Men were recruited from commercial venues. Outcome measures included use of lubricant, testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and intentions to seek HIV testing within the following six months. Linear-by-linear chi-square analysis and binary logistic regressions were conducted to explore the associations between the outcome measures and campaign exposure.


The total sample was 822 men (62.6% response rate). Men self-identifying as HIV positive were excluded from the analysis (n = 38). Binary logistic analysis indicated that those with mid or high campaign exposure were more likely to have been tested for HIV in the previous six months when adjusted for age, area of residence and use of the “gay scene” (AOR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.26 to 3.06, p = .003), but were not more likely to be tested for STIs (AOR = 1.37, 95% CI = 0.88 to 2.16, p = .167). When adjusted for previous HIV testing, those with mid or high campaign exposure were not more likely to indicate intention to be tested for HIV in the following six months (AOR = 1.30, 95% CI = 0.73 to 2.32, p = .367). Those with no campaign exposure were less likely than those with low exposure to have used appropriate lubricant with anal sex partners in the previous year (AOR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.23 to 0.77, p = .005).


The campaign had demonstrable reach. The analysis showed partial support for the role of mass media campaigns in improving sexual health outcomes. This suggests that a role for mass media campaigns remains within combination HIV prevention.

Gay men; Mass media; Sexual health; HIV test; Exposure