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Public Health

HIV High Risk Behavior Change Campaign

Men who have sex with men (MSM), HIV positive MSM, and MSM who are also injection drug users (IDUs) are at highest risk for contracting and/or passing on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). MSM make up 80 percent of the total number of male AIDS cases and another 10 percent consist of MSM who are also IDUs, accounting for a combined total of 90 percent of all male AIDS cases in San Diego County. Additionally, MSM of color are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Indicators such as rising syphilis rates point to a decrease in safer sex practices among MSM. Unprotected intercourse between MSM, HIV positive MSM, and MSM/IDUs continues to drive the HIV epidemic in the County of San Diego.  If this continues, San Diego will likely experience resurgence in HIV infections.

In an effort to reduce the high risk sexual behaviors among MSM and prevent resurgence in the incidence of HIV infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded the Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) to motivate positive behavior change among the MSM, HIV positive MSM, and MSM/IDU populations. Their goal was to encourage the target populations to utilize HIV counseling and testing services, seek primary care, and/or to increase the use of education and prevention, risk reduction or harm reduction strategies. The process included identification of the causes of the health problem and consensus regarding potential campaign audiences. Focus groups, street intercept surveys, key informant interviews, pilot testing, and use of a community advisory board were utilized to generate ideas and gather community input and feedback.

The Criminal Justice Research Division of SANDAG was contracted by the FHCSD to assist in the development of the message and to evaluate its subsequent effectiveness.

Project Manager

Dr. Cynthia Burke, Director, Research and Program Management
Phone: (619) 699-1910, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or