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Lisa Jakobsberg
Ljakobsberg@healthsolutions.org
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Research findings bear out a high willingness among men and women to view safer sex messages in sexually explicit media

[NEW YORK, NY – December 1, 2017] Today, Public Health Solutions (PHS), the largest public health nonprofit in New York City, announced research findings that show men and women are willing to view safer sex messages in online sexually explicit media. This study provides new information to the existing body of research showing an association between risk behavior and viewing condomless sex in sexually explicit media (SEM). The pornographic industry regards its product as for entertainment purposes, not necessarily a platform for safe sex messaging, including condom use and PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis). Furthermore, the industry believes that customers prefer viewing condomless sex.

“Our findings challenge widely held beliefs by pornography industry stakeholders that consumers demand condomless videos or reject the use of condoms in sexually explicit media,” says Martin Downing, Ph.D., lead researcher at Public Health Solutions.  “We believe that the inclusion of safer sex messages in pornography has the potential to not only positively affect the sexual health behaviors of its viewers, but to better inform them of safer sex practices and available HIV prevention strategies.”

With World AIDS Day on Friday, December 1, the news of these findings hold special significance, as safer sex education and awareness has been key to the all-time low in new HIV diagnoses in New York City. The study shows that viewers’ sexual health and awareness can co-exist with its entertainment purposes, rather than hampering or canceling them.

The study bears out that willingness to view safer sex messaging in pornography does not necessarily have to disrupt the entertainment and pleasure of SEM.  “The disconnect between industry and consumers represents an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue that addresses health concerns of performers, producer and performer free speech, and the role of SEM in consumer health,” adds Dr. Downing.

Few studies have looked at viewer willingness to watch sexually explicit media (SEM) containing HIV/STI prevention messages.  Public Health Solutions’ research team analyzed data from a racially diverse sample of 859 men and women to examine willingness to watch SEM with safer sex messaging. Analyses were conducted separately for three groups: heterosexual men and other men who only report sex with women; heterosexual women and other women who only report sex with men, and gay, bisexual; and other men who have sex with men. All three groups expressed some willingness to view safer sex messages in SEM and a majority viewed the SEM industry as having some responsibility to provide this type of messaging. These findings point to potential for partnership between health researchers and the porn industry to design and implement safer sex messaging in SEM.

About Public Health Solutions: As the largest public health nonprofit organization in New York City, Public Health Solutions improves health among New York City’s most vulnerable populations by tackling social and physical factors that impact New Yorkers’ ability to thrive.  Today, PHS serves 200,000+ New Yorkers annually, and we support the work of more than 230 community-based nonprofit organizations.  We implement innovative, cost-effective population-based health programs; conduct research that provides insight on effective public health interventions; and support services to government and other nonprofits to address critical public health issues. To learn more, visit www.healthsolutions.org.

Access full study here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10461-017-1971-7

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