273841 HIV/AIDS Prevention with Social Media: A Mixed Methods Analysis of the Harnessing Online Peer Education (HOPE) Study

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Devan Jaganath , David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Sean Young, PhD, MS , Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Over 750 million people have used social networking sites such as Facebook. As an interactive tool for engagement and communication, these websites may serve as novel platforms for peer-delivered HIV/AIDS prevention and education. However, there has not been a qualitative assessment of the acceptability of discussing HIV/AIDS topics on Facebook, and if participation is associated with behavior change.

Methods: In the Harnessing Online Peer Education (HOPE) study, peer leaders (N=8) were trained in HIV/AIDS topics, and moderated a Facebook group for 12 weeks among African-American and Latino Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), N = 57. A mixed methods analysis was performed to determine key themes and their association with HIV testing. Data included qualitative thematic analysis of posts from the Facebook Wall, and quantitative demographic survey responses and requests for HIV testing kits.

Results: African-American and Latino participants voluntarily discussed HIV-related themes, including Knowledge, Stigma, Advocacy, and Prevention and Testing. Older participants more frequently discussed Prevention and Testing, Stigma, and Advocacy, while younger participants discussed Knowledge topics and overall friendly conversation and MSM culture. Although discussion declined as the trial progressed, the proportion of conversations related to Prevention and Testing and HIV stigma increased. Multiple logistic regression found that discussing Prevention and Testing was significantly associated with an HIV test request (OR 11.14, p = 0.001), independent of age and race.

Discussion: Social networking sites can be an effective forum to discuss HIV/AIDS and is associated with health promoting behaviors such as HIV testing among at-risk groups.

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

Learning Objectives:
Assess the feasibility of using social networking websites for health promotion, in particular HIV/AIDS prevention and education Evaluate whether participation in an online social forum related to HIV/AIDS is associated with behavior change Discuss the use of mixed methods and qualitative analysis in online social networking websites

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted multiple behavioral and epidemiological studies related to HIV/AIDS prevention. In the study presented in the submitted abstract, I played an integral role in its design, implementation, and outcome analysis. In addition to my research interests, I have coordinated several HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs utilizing peer-based models. In addition to being an MD candidate, I am completing an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University.
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.