Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Risk Reduction and HIV Testing Messages Sent Through Social Networking Media Can Be Effective

Sean Young, PhD, MS Department of Family Medicine UCLA

This is part of an internal email mailed to a Gay Youth group:

...The machine is part of a small ‘pilot’ research study being conducted by a UCLA researcher named Sean Young (at the UCLA Center for HIV Intervention, Prevention, and Treatment Services). Pilots are small projects that are designed to establish the feasibility of answering a specific research question. If the results are promising, then the investigator can apply for funding for a full scale study.
This particular study is designed to assess whether risk reduction and HIV testing messages sent through social networking media can be effective in motivating someone to obtain an HIV home test kit from a vending machine. So the study is looking at both social network ‘diffusion’ of risk reduction information as well as acceptability of use of vending machines to obtain test kits.

The study has 100 subjects who will receive emails from the investigator asking them to share risk reduction/testing messages with their social network contacts. If they are interested in participating, the contacted individuals will be provided with a phone number to communicate with the investigator. They will then be given the PIN number and information on the location of the machine. The investigator will be able to monitor (through the use of the unique PIN) whether subjects are actually coming to obtain test kits.
After the study period (which should last 2 months at most) we will be able to use the machine for other things if we want…..condoms, lube…..candy! No decision on that yet.
I want to stress that the distribution of rapid HIV home test kits as part of this study doesn’t reflect the XXX position on HIV home testing, which has been approved by the FDA but remains controversial.

more about Sean Young programs:

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