University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for the Study of Community Health

CITY Health II: Utilizing Entertainment Education and Peer Networks to Reduce HIV Risk


In Alabama, African Americans make up 26% of the state’s population, but accounted for 65% of all persons living with HIV in 2011. Other than documenting barriers to care and health disparities, the HIV epidemic in the Deep South has not been well studied. To advance HIV prevention research and programs among high risk African Americans in the Deep South, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are developing Community Influences Transitions of Youth (CITY) Health II.

The CITY Health II program focuses on reducing risky HIV-related behaviors and increasing HIV testing and protective behaviors among African American emerging adults (i.e., young people ages 18-25) living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Birmingham-Hoover, AL. Researchers plan to recruit 600 at-risk African American males and females to test an entertainment education (EE) program. Entertainment education programs have been shown to increase HIV testing, condom use, and intentions to engage in HIV prevention behaviors.

Treatment participants will watch a video series created by CITY Health II researchers featuring audience-identified local musicians discussing HIV-related topics with HIV experts. Each episode has a discussion and a live performance by the featured musician. Topics include HIV testing, what it is like to live with HIV, condom use and negotiation, and more. Researchers will compare 400 treatment participants to 200 control group participants, who will only have access to the live performances. Using social media messaging (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), treatment participants will then invite their peers (i.e., non- enrolled participants) to 1) watch the EE episodes on a designated website, and then 2) forward the invitation to other peers. Researchers will track the diffusion of the social media shares and measure any synergistic effect of receiving the intervention and sharing it with peers simultaneously.

This project may inform several audiences of effective ways to reach into peer networks using modern communication technology to deliver HIV behavioral health messages. Research results will be shared through a variety of channels such as professional journals, conferences, community roundtables, and outreach activities.

Project Identifier CITY Health II: Utilizing Entertainment Education and Peer Networks to Reduce HIV Risk

Funding Source PRC Program

Project Status Active

Host Institution University of Alabama at Birmingham

Health Topics HIV/AIDS & STD prevention

Research setting Community

Race or ethnicity African American or Black

Gender No specific focus

Age group Young adults (18-24 years)

Contact Information Center
UAB Center for the Study of Community Health

912 Building
912 18th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294

Principal Investigator:
Max Michael, MD
Phone: (205) 934-7741

Deputy Director
Mary B. Evans
UAB Center for the Study of Community Health
Phone: (205) 975-8387