A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that public health messages on Facebook are effective at increasing condom use among young adults–thus decreasing the chance of spreading STDs–at least for a little while.
Researchers from the University of Colorado recruited 1,578 young adults between 18 and 24 for the study. Some were asked to ‘Like’ and receive news from a sexual-health Facebook page called Just/Us, which shared articles about condom use and sexually transmitted infection testing.
Participants in the control group signed up for a Facebook page called 18-24 News, which provided general news items targeted to the age group.
Two months later, researchers conducted a survey of the participants and found that 68% of those who signed up for Just/Us said they’d used condoms during their last sexual encounter, compared to 56% of those in the control group.
In addition, the proportion of sex acts that included condom use for the Just/Us subscribers was 63%, compared to 57% for the control group.
The downside: at the 6-month mark, all of the participants lost interest in the sexual-health page and went back to business as usual.