142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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HIV risk reduction via Facebook live chat for young men who have sex with men

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger, PhD , Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
John Pachankis, PhD , Chronic Disease Epidemiology | Social & Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT
Kristi Gamarel, PhD , Department of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI
Anthony Surace, BA , Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Jeffrey T. Parsons, PhD , Department of Psychology and the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Sarit A. Golub, PhD, MPH , Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Background: Innovative prevention efforts are needed given the high HIV rates among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). We tested the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a Facebook-chat intervention in reducing condomless anal sex and substance use among HIV-negative YMSM.

Methods: YMSM (N=40) completed 1.5-hour baseline online assessments, 1-hour weekly Motivational Interviewing Facebook chat counseling sessions (maximum of 8), and follow-up assessments. Nonparametric tests (Wilcoxon signed ranks tests) were used to evaluate baseline to 3-month follow up outcomes. Sensitivity analyses were also conducted for participants who completed at least one session and follow-ups.

Results: Participants’ mean age was 25.24 (SD=3.22), 46.4% were racial/ethnic minorities, and 46.3% earned < $30,000 annually; 78% attended at least one intervention session. HIV risk decreased from baseline to follow-up: a) number of drug days (M=5.9 vs. M=3.5, p=0.05), b) number of condomless anal sex acts overall (M=9.3 vs. M=3.05, p=0.007), and c) under the influence of drugs (M=6.1 vs. M=0.7, p<0.001). The intervention decreased depression (M=14.7 vs. M=13.4, p=0.09), and increased sexual risk knowledge (M=10.1 vs. M=11.0, p=0.03).

Conclusions: Live chat interventions are promising in reducing condomless anal sex and substance use among YMSM, in addition to improving knowledge of risk and mental health. These pilot findings support future interventions for MSM who do not have ready access to physical resources or prefer to receive counseling via technologies that permeate their lives. Developmentally and culturally appropriate mobile intervention modalities hold promise in reaching YMSM across geographic regions to effect HIV risk reductions.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the efficacy of a live chat online intervention in reducing persistent HIV risk among YMSM, as a feasible, generational resonant prevention modality. Identify strategies to promote sexual health among YMSM that account for context-specific risks and sources of support determined by individuals’ location across geographical areas.

Keyword(s): HIV Interventions, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of one federally funded grant and co-investigator on two federally funded grants focusing on HIV risk reduction and well-being among sexual minorities at high risk for poor health outcomes. My applied research strives to find new strategies for HIV prevention that are embedded in individuals' lives and serve to improve their physical and mental health, above and beyond HIV.
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.