On June 7, 2005, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Howard Brown Health Center,
and the Center on Halsted launched a citywide summer campaign to raise awareness about
viral hepatitis and offer hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines to at-risk groups, primarily men who
have sex with men (MSM), throughout Chicago.
The advertising and vaccination campaign, called Hep Team Chicago, consisted of brochures,
public service advertisements, posters, palmcards, transit ads, a website, and appearances at
various events, such as the Gay Pride Parade, Windy City Pride, and Northalsted Market Days.
Additionally, the Hep Team participated in the Gay Pride Parade wearing distinctive Hep Team
Chicago apparel and also visited bars, clubs, beaches, and other community venues during the
course of the campaign.
Hep Team Chicago, in partnership with agencies throughout Chicago including the Chicago
Department of Public Health, Howard Brown Health Center, and the Center on Halsted
promoted hepatitis vaccination throughout the summer. The campaign aimed to raise awareness that
- MSM are at increased risk for contracting hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are serious (and potentially fatal) infections.
- Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are preventable through vaccination.
According to an online survey conducted in the Chicago area on
www.gay.com in May
2005, among MSM, fewer than half of the survey respondents (48.3%) had received any
doses of a vaccine against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and only 47% had discussed
vaccination with their healthcare provider. The survey results also showed that the
49.1% of the respondents had no plans to be vaccinated in the future. Also troubling
was that close to 80% of the respondents had received no information about hepatitis or
hepatitis vaccinations over the past six months. These preliminary results underscored
the need for this information outreach campaign.
Hep Team Chicago recommended that men who have health insurance go to a private
provider for vaccination, as vaccination is covered by many insurance plans. For men
who do not have health insurance or a regular provider, the Hep Team website
(www.hepteamchicago.com) lists clinics and providers around Chicago who stock the
hepatitis vaccines. Clinic and provider information is also available at 800-243-2437.
The Chicago Department of Health offered free vaccinations on-site at Montrose Beach
following the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 26, 2005; during Windy City Pride at
the Southside YMCA on Sunday, July 3, 2005; and at Northhalsted Market Days on
Saturday, August 6, 2005, and Sunday, August 7, 2005. "For those who don't have
insurance coverage or a regular provider, we're offering on-site vaccination at the
biggest community events this summer which underscores CDPH's commitment that all
MSM should be vaccinated", said Dr. Will Wong, Medical Director, STD/HIV Program,
Hep Team Chicago Update (as of October 10, 2005):
- 685 doses of combination vaccine administered by the Chicago Department of Public
Health at large-scale community events during the program.
- All providers queried (public health, community clinics and private doctors) have
reported increased patient demand for HAV/HBV vaccination (in a market which had
been trending downwards).
- Comparison of online surveys of MSM in Chicago conducted before the launch of the
program (June, 2005) and at the completion of the program (September, 2005) shows:
- The percentage of respondents who said they had received any information about
hepatitis or hepatitis vaccination in the previous six months went from 15.7% to 30.5%.
- The percentage that could correctly identify the term "Vaccine-Preventable Hepatitis"
(used in all campaign materials) went from 20.6% to 39.6%.
- Percentage of patients who had discussed vaccination with their healthcare provider in
the past six months went from 17.5% to 25.9%.
- The percentage who had received a vaccination within the prior six months went from
2.7% to 4.0%.
- The great majority (67.5%) had received their most recent dose of vaccine at a private