Washington: The intervention of peer-led Facebook groups leads to increased home-based HIV testing among at-risk populations, a new study has revealed.
It was found that online social networking has grown exponentially in this population, suggesting that social media platforms could be used to relay HIV prevention messages.
Researchers randomly assigned sixteen peer leaders to deliver information about HIV or general health via closed Facebook groups to Los Angeles-based MSM, more than 85 percent of whom were African American or Latino.
All online interactions were monitored to assess participation and engagement. Throughout the trial, participants in either group could request a free, home-based HIV testing kit.
It was found that participation in messaging was high in both groups throughout the trial. After 12 weeks, more intervention participants had requested an HIV testing kit than control participants (44 percent vs 20 percent, respectively). In both groups, the median number of sexual partners decreased during the trial.