230133 Outcome findings from a pilot test of the CyBER/testing: An Internet intervention designed to increase HIV testing among MSM

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 11:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, CHES , Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Aaron T. Vissman, MPH , Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Jason Stowers , Triad Health Project, Greensboro, NC
Cynthia Miller , Division of Public Health Sciences/Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Thomas McCoy, MS , Department of Biostatistical Science, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Kenneth Hergenrather, PhD, MSEd, MRC , Department of Counseling and Human Development, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Aimee Wilkin, MD, MPH , Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Laura H. Bachmann, MD, MPH , Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School Of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Addison Ore , Triad Health Project, Greensboro, NC
Michael W. Ross, PhD , WHO Center for Health Promotion Research and Development, The University of Texas - Houston School of Public Health, Houston, TX
Ellen Hendrix , Ellen Hendrix, LLC, Winston-Salem, NC
Eugenia Eng, MPH, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: The Internet has emerged as an important tool for social networking and support, meeting friends and sexual partners, and building community. However, seeking sex on the Internet also has been identified as a risk factor for HIV and sexually transmitted disease infection among MSM.

Methods: Our community-based participatory research partnership developed and piloted CyBER/testing, a culturally congruent intervention designed to promote HIV testing within Internet chat rooms. The intervention was implemented for 6 months within one geographically oriented chat room designed for social and sexual networking among MSM. Using a quasi-experimental, single-group study design, cross-sectional data were collected from chat room participants at pretest and post-test. Extant profile data also were collected to describe the demographics of a sample of the general chat room population.

Results: Mean age of the chatters at pretest (n=346) was 37.2 years, 71.3% self-identified as white, and 20% reported having sex with both men and women. There were no significant demographic differences between chatters who participated in the pretest and the post-test and the sample of the general population of chatters. However, those in the posttest had significantly higher self-reported HIV testing rates: 44.5% at pretest and nearly 59.4% at post-test (P<.001). Furthermore, chatters who reported having both male and female partners had 6 times the odds of reporting HIV testing at post-test (P<.001).

Conclusions: Chat room interventions may increase testing among MSM who may be difficult to reach in traditional physical spaces and among those who have sex with both men and women.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to: 1) Describe key components of CyBER/testing, a chat room based intervention for MSM; 2) Analyze the intervention components and theoretical underpinnings; 3) Describe the effectiveness of the intervention; 4) Discuss how preliminary findings may be applied to future Internet research and chat room interventions; and, 5) Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the use of chat room based interventions in HIV prevention.

Keywords: Internet, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the health educator implementing the CyBER intervention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.