Online Program

Opportunities for technology-based HIV prevention among secondary students in cape town, South Africa

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Michele Ybarra, MPH PhD, Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San Clemente, CA
Kelvin Mwaba, PhD, University of Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Nicolette Roman, PhD, University of Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Bronwyn Rooi, BA, University of Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Tonya Prescott, BA, Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San Clemente, CA
Sheana Bull, PhD, MPH, Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Background: Estimates suggest that if the current HIV infection rates remain stable in South Africa, 50% of 15-year-olds alive today will die from AIDS. The need to develop effective, scalable HIV programs for South African adolescents cannot be overstated.

Methods: In 2012, 1,107 8th–11th graders completed a paper-and-pencil survey. Respondents were enrolled in one of three public high schools located in lower income neighborhoods in Cape Town.

Results: Eighty-one percent of respondents have used text messaging (SMS) and 81% have gone online. If an HIV prevention program was offered online, 53% of youth would be somewhat or extremely likely to access it; slightly fewer (47%) felt the same about an SMS-based program. In comparison, 73% said they would be likely to access a program if it were offered at school. Email was the least endorsed delivery mechanism (38%). Interestingly, girls (52%) were more likely than boys (38%) to consider SMS-based delivery, but similar percentages were noted for Internet delivery (56% versus 55%, respectively). Slightly more youth who rated their likelihood of getting HIV to be above average were interested in Internet delivery (51%) compared to SMS (46%). Similar trends were noted among youth who were tired of hearing messages about HIV prevention.

Conclusions: Access to the Internet and SMS is high among low income adolescents attending high school in Cape Town. Internet programs may have the potential to reach slightly more youth than SMS programs. Given the preference for school-based programming, embedding the intervention within a school setting appears wise.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the potential opportunities that newer technologies may pose in reaching and engaging Cape Town adolescents in HIV prevention programs

Keyword(s): Adolescents, International, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the grant, led the study development and oversaw it's implementation, and analyzed the data
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.