The number of new HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) cases is increasing by the minute. A great deal of effort is needed to curb the spread of the dreaded virus and experts believe that the social media where most gay men meet their sexual partners could also be used to boost HIV testing rates.
Researchers in the United States conducted a trial among two online sites and posted in two other forums without any intervention. They targeted geographic locations about 200 to 330 miles apart to avoid overlapping of users since these sites including Craigslist, Adam4Adam, BlackGayChat and Gay.com, are designed to pave way for users to meet in person.
Now, health educators created public profiles targeting all these sites. These profiles are easily accessible to everyone and allowed the health experts to talk to the users about the importance of HIV testing. They also discussed important details like places where the users could go for HIV testing.
In a specific site, Craigslist, the health educator posted information on HIV testing every 3 to 4 hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday between 2013 and 2014.
The investigators offered $10 compensation to users in order for them to complete an assessment form which contains information about alcohol use, drug use, race, age, sexual orientation and HIV status. A history of how many times they got tested for HIV was also included.