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Next Stop: Using Buses to Promote HIV-Testing Awareness

PHILADELPHIA, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - A University of Pennsylvania study will determine if public transit can convey more than people going from point A to point B. Video displays on public buses in Los Angeles will be used to help determine the efficacy of an innovative soap opera-like video program designed to increase HIV testing among low-income African Americans 14 to 24 years of age.

The program - "Reality Check" - will be shown on video monitors on public buses over a 27-week time-frame. Each episode of "Reality Check" explores relationships and decision-making among a group of young African Americans. The episodes carry an underlying message to get tested for HIV.

Each three-minute episode of the show will display for one week on buses on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Back episodes will be available on a YouTube link from the transit company website.

"Developing age- and culturally appropriate interventions to promote a healthier lifestyle among this population is paramount to their survival and to the health of their sex partners," explains co-investigator Christopher Coleman, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "This is a study that could yield a wide-reaching, cost effective intervention."

The primary investigator for the study is Professor John B. Jemmott III from Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and Annenberg School for Communication. Other co-investigators are Penn alumni Robin Stevens and Julie Cederbaum; Scarlett Bellamy, associate professor in Penn's Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics; and Ann O'Leary, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The study is funded by a research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Cross-sectional anonymous bus stop surveys of African American youth ages 14-24 who ride the bus through- and reside in- designated impoverished areas at least three times each will be conducted before "Reality Check" is shown in Los Angeles, immediately after it is shown, and three and six months after it is shown. The study sample will include 200 youth who exit buses in each of the two cities at each of the four assessment points, for a total of 1,600 participants.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the premier research institutions in nursing, producing new knowledge in geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, quality-of-life choices, and other areas. Researchers here consistently receive more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other private nursing school, and many Master's programs are ranked first in the country. This year, faculty, students, alumni, and staff celebrate 125 years of nursing at Penn.


Joy McIntyre
Director of Communications
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Reproduced with permission - "University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing"

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

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