236558 Electronic Health Messaging and Adolescents: Strategies to reduce HIV/STI risk taking using new media

Monday, October 31, 2011

Peggy B. Smith, PhD , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Ruth S. Buzi, PhD , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Kimberly Hebenstreit, MPH , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Gabrielle D. Novello, BA , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Background: In 2009, 93% of U.S. youth were online and 75% used a cell phone. In addition, 31% accessed the internet to find health information and 17% searched for sensitive health topics. Electronic media can deliver risk reduction messages, especially on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. The project aim was to develop electronic platforms to reduce risk behaviors among teens. Methods: The intervention included presence on Facebook, Hi5, Twitter and MySpace; Web-based, theory-driven films (Webisodes) on health; Email and Short Messaging Services (SMS); a blog on the clinic website, updated daily with relevant health information; and a “Talk With Tiff” service, an online avatar that responds to health-related questions within 24 hours. Results: Google Analytics tracked 5,716 visits to the THC website in December 2010, an increase since the website was upgraded in 2008, when hits averaged 550 monthly. Survey Monkey solicited feedback from 146 respondents and indicated that website services were beneficial and the information influenced sexual behavior change. Talk with Tiff has been popular; since its inception, Talk with Tiff has received 216 questions. Over 1,000 clients receive SMS and/or emails twice a week. Six SMS recipients participated in a focus group and provided positive feedback regarding service value, future topic preferences, frequency of the texts, and the impact of texts on behaviors. Conclusions: Electronic media is an effective way to communicate health education messages to teens. We recommend that other community organizations consider using social and electronic media as an outreach strategy, especially to marginalized groups.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate effective social and electronic media outlets as means to disseminate sexual health information. 2. Identify lessons that were learned from various programs using electronic media that can increase effectiveness in targeting high risk groups.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a professor and the director of the Teen Health Clinics for Baylor College of Medicine, a comprehensive research and medical program which serves over 14,000 indigent adolescents annually. I am the principal investigator of an electronic messaging project that has combined a variety of applications to provide up to date information on reproductive health, primarily via text messaging, blogging and interactive web page communication.
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.