Advances in efficient health communication: Promoting prevention and detection of STDs

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Small changes in the wording of health related recommendations about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) can significantly influence their impact. In this paper, we review advances in research investigating the content and structure of these framed messages. We also summarize the results of a recent longitudinal study examining the effects of a brief risk awareness intervention (i.e., a brochure) targeting young adults-the population at highest risk of contracting STDs. Building on a leading theory and emerging data, we review key aspects of the psychological processes that underlie the impact of framed messages on prevention and detection of STDs, and we detail how these messages can be made more influential when accompanied by visual aids. Our review converges with other research indicating that well constructed visual aids are often among the most highly effective, transparent, and ethically desirable means of health risk communication. Larger scale implementation of these and other theory-based, custom-tailored methods holds the promise of relatively inexpensive yet highly-effective systems for promoting prevention and detection of STDs. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.

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Current HIV Research