The HOPE Social Media Intervention for Global HIV Prevention in Peru: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

February 2015 - Combination Prevention

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Young, S. D., Cumberland, W. G., Nianogo, R., et al. The Lancet HIV (January 2015), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(14)00006-X,

This cluster randomized controlled trial tested the efficacy of the Harnessing Online Peer Education (HOPE) social media intervention to increase HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Peru. Participants were randomized to intervention (n = 252) or control groups (n = 246) on Facebook for 12 weeks. Thirty-four Peruvian MSM were trained as HIV mentors (peer leaders) who interacted with intervention participants on Facebook, discussing the importance of HIV prevention and testing by sending messages, chats, and wall posts. Participants in control groups received standard care, including routine care and participation in Facebook groups that provided study updates and HIV testing information. Data analysis at 12 weeks' follow-up showed that more intervention than control participants requested an HIV test, and 17 percent of intervention participants tested for HIV, compared to 7 percent of participants in the control group. In addition, participants in the intervention group remained highly engaged in group discussions throughout the duration of the study compared to the control group. The authors concluded that an almost three-fold increase in HIV testing rate between the intervention and control group participants, and a 90 percent retention rate in the intervention group, suggest that peer-mentored social media interventions can be an efficient way of increasing HIV testing among MSM in Peru.,/p>

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