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SPNS Social Media Findings in Health Promotion Practice

Monday, August 24, 2020


Eight peer-reviewed manuscripts on findings from HRSA-funded demonstration projects exploring the use and efficacy of social media on improving HIV care have been published in Health Promotion Practice, a journal of the Society for Public Health Education.

Articles are based on the work of programs funded under the HRSA Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) initiative called Use of Social Media to Improve Engagement, Retention, and Health Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum. The Social Media effort ran from 2015-2019. SPNS is funded under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP).

The HRSA SPNS Social Media and HIV Outcomes Projects collection reviews work in 10 SPNS sites focused on assessing improvements in HIV care associated with social media, particularly among gay/bisexual youth and transgender women. Two articles are based on data at all 10 sites: one a qualitative review where participants reported feeling supported in their HIV care with social media and the other a comparison of levels of social support among MSM versus transgender women.

Other articles look at social media in various formats, like Facebook messaging and mobile apps. Significant improvements were documented in qualitative and quantitative studies in terms of patient engagement and retention in care, adherence to medications, reduced stigma, and other measures. For example:

  • Two-way text messaging intervention with a medical case manager, called E-VOLUTION, resulted in improved viral load suppression among Black MSM in St. Louis, MO. 
  • The OPT-In for Life app was used with youth with HIV in Hershey, PA. Among those retained in care, viral suppression rates increased from 64% to 85% at 6-month and 12-month follow-up time periods. The rate was 91% at 18 months. 

The collection also examines, for example, motivation interviewing and the impact of social media on stigma reduction.

See SPNS Social Media Initiative Demonstration Site Resources, practical tools developed under this Initiative

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