Mobile screening to identify and follow-up with high risk, HIV negative youth

BACKGROUND: HIV prevalence remains disproportionately high among youth, especially among young men who have sex with men, young people with substance use disorders, and recently incarcerated youth. However, youth may not report behavioral risks because they fear stigma or legal consequences. While routine HIV screening programs have increased testing, current programs are not designed to identify, or provide prevention services to, high-risk patients who test HIV negative.

AIMS: To examine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of: a tablet-based screening designed to facilitate HIV risk reporting and testing among a sample of young urban emergency department (ED) patients; and a text message-based follow up protocol for patients who test HIV-negative and report increased behavioral risk.

METHODS: 100 ED patients aged 18–24, who declined HIV tests offered at triage, completed a tablet-based intervention that included a risk screening, an educational video, and offered participants HIV tests. If patients accepted testing and reported increased risk, the tablets offered follow-up text messages.

RESULTS: 30 participants accepted HIV tests following the intervention and 21 participants, identified by custom software as high-risk, agreed to receive text messages. Two thirds (66.7%) of text recipients responded to questions at week 6, more than half (57.1%) responded at week 8, one (4.76%) re-tested after week 12.

CONCLUSION: Results indicate our intervention provides a feasible way to facilitate risk reporting, increase HIV testing, and maintain ongoing contact with hard-to-reach youth via tablet computers and text messages.

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Full citation:
Aronson ID, Cleland CM, Perlman DC, Rajan S, Sun W, Ferraris C, Mayer J, Ferris DC, Bania TC (2016).
Mobile screening to identify and follow-up with high risk, HIV negative youth
Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine, 5 (1), 9-18. doi: 10.7309/jmtm.5.1.3. PMCID: PMC4838398.