311. Reaching Teens, Teaching Teens: Information on Sexual Health and Sexually-transmitted Infections in One Year of Seventeen and Teen Vogue Magazines
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Assessing and Reducing Infection Risk
Friday, October 21, 2011
Room: Poster Hall B1
Background: Sexually-transmitted infections affect a large proportion of adolescents in the United States, more than in other industrialized nations. This problem is fueled partly by inadequate knowledge of STIs and methods of avoiding them. Teen-targeted magazines with dedicated health sections have been identified as trusted sources of sexual health information to high volume readerships.  The purpose of this study is to assess coverage of STIs and STI protection methods in the two teen magazines with highest readership, Seventeen and Teen Vogue, to determine the quantity and context of sexual health information distributed through this media outlet.

Methods: Two independent researchers reviewed all issues of Teen Vogue and Seventeen published from April 2010 to March 2011. Full articles as well as isolated content on dating, sex, STIs, and barrier contraception methods were cumulated, tallied, and analyzed and compared to other articles on general health.

Results:  In one year of Teen Vogue there was a total of one article each on dating and pregnancy, zero featuring sex, and 12 on general health topics.  Four articles mentioned sex and one mentioned STIs and condoms. One year of Seventeen had 57 dating articles, two featuring sex, and 108 covering general health.  Sex was mentioned in an additional 15 articles. STIs and barrier methods were not the focus of any articles but were discussed in five and nine articles, respectively. Mentions of barrier methods were restricted to male condoms.

Conclusion:  In Seventeen, the limited quantity of data presented on STIs and protective measures was incongruous with the abundance of discussion devoted to dating and sex. Teen Vogue dedicated significantly less discussion to any health topic, but demonstrated a similar trend.  If these magazines truly seek to provide meaningful health information to their readerships, information regarding STIs and risk-reduction strategies should be discussed more frequently to relay the message that protecting oneself against STIs is an essential component of dating and sexual activity.

Subject Category: N. Hospital-acquired and surgical infections, infection control, and health outcomes including general public health and health services research

Lauren Goddard, BA, Biomedical Sciences, Brown University, Warren Alpert Medical School, Providence, RI, Lawren Wellisch, BA, Brown University, Warren Alpert Medical School, Providence, RI and Michelle Forcier, MD, MPH, Pediatrics, Brown University, Warren Alpert Medical School, Providence, RI


L. Goddard, None

L. Wellisch, None

M. Forcier, Planned Parenthood: Board Member, no financial benefit

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. EST Thursday, Oct. 20 with the exception of research findings presented at IDSA press conferences.