Online Program

Going local: Successes in online recruitment of men who have sex with men for biomedical HIV prevention research

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lindsey Buckingham, BA, Division of HIV Prevention Research, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
David Metzger, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Online and mobile-phone based social networking applications can be valuable tools for recruitment of human subjects to interventional clinical trials. We report successes using various online social networking sites, especially with the employment of a mobile phone social/sexual networking application (app), to recruit MSM to a phase 2b HIV vaccine trial.

Methods: The University of Pennsylvania HIV Vaccine Trials Unit (Penn HVTN) has utilized online recruitment methods since July of 2010. In October 2012 we combined existing national recruitment images/messages with Philadelphia-specific language and imagery to advertise on a social/sexual networking mobile phone app. To analyze the ability of this app to engage eligible participants we compare this strategy to our other online recruitment methods.

Results: While advertising on the mobile phone app, the rate of contact and engagement of eligible participants increased dramatically. In 12 days of advertising, the phillyvax website was viewed over 8,000 times and 148 contact forms were completed. Staff spoke to 102 participants for a phone screen and 59 were eligible. Thirty-seven came to the clinic for face-to-face screens and 12 remained eligible. By January 2013, the site had enrolled 10 participants from this effort.

Conclusion: Advertising via mobile phone apps can be a valuable method for recruitment of human subjects to biomedical HIV prevention trials. The Penn HVTN saw significant success when this recruitment strategy employed a Philadelphia-based “brand” of imagery combined with national images and language.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics

Learning Objectives:
Assess the ability of a mobile phone based social networking application to engage MSM for an interventional trial. Compare online recruitment strategies, specifically a mobile phone based social networking application and other online recruitment methods.

Keyword(s): Technology, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research assistant involved in the development of this recruitment strategy as well as the analysis of 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.