Social Media, Video Games May Help Prevent HIV: Research

HIV Prevention
Though it may sound crazy, yet true! A new research has claimed that texts, social media and video games may play a pivotal role in HIV prevention.

A study from Columbia University School of Nursing suggests that digital outreach efforts delivered via text messages, interactive games, chat rooms, and social networks may be an effective way to reach at-risk younger men.

The research has also found that eHealth interventions are associated with reductions in risky sexual behaviours and increases in HIV testing among men who have sex with men. The pace of new infections among men who have sex with men has been steadily increasing in the US, particularly among young adults and racial and ethnic minorities, researchers said.

A team of researchers led by Schnall conducted a systematic literature review to determine the effectiveness of eHealth interventions for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men.

One interactive website, Sexpulse, designed to target men who seek sexual partners online, successfully reduced high-risk sexual behaviours.
Another site, Keep It Up! (KIU), used video games to help reduce rates of unprotected sex.

A third initiative, a downloadable video game helped mitigate shame felt by some young men though the reduction in risky sexual behaviour wasn’t statistically significant.

The study found chat rooms may also help prevent HIV. On social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, popular individuals can spread HIV-prevention messages to their friends and followers.

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