Press Esc to close
Friday 18 August 2017
News updated at 5:35 PM IST

Social media can help stop spread of HIV

Los Angeles, Oct 30, 2014, (PTI): 15:14 IST
Tweets and Facebook posts could be a new tool to help curb the spread of HIV, scientists have found. Reuters file photo
Tweets and Facebook posts could be a new tool to help curb the spread of HIV, scientists have found.

Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, Sean Young of the Center for Digital Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in the future, social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.

"We know that mining social media will have huge potential benefits for many areas of medicine in the future, but we're still in the early stages of testing how powerful these technologies will be," Young said.

With the right tools in place, he said, social media offers a rich source of psychological and health-related data generated in an environment in which people are often willing to share freely.

Insights gleaned from social media could be used to help governments, public health departments, hospitals, and caretakers monitor people's health behaviours "to know where, when, and how we might be able to prevent HIV transmission," Young believes.

In an article in the Cell Press journal Trends in Microbiology, Young detailed a social-media-based intervention in which African American and Latino men who have sex with men shared a tremendous amount of personal information through social media, including when or whether they had 'come out,' as well as experiences of homelessness and stigmatisation.

Researchers found that people who discussed HIV prevention topics on social media were more than twice as likely to later request an HIV test.

In the context of HIV prevention, tweets have also been shown to identify people who are currently or soon to engage in sexual- or drug-related risk behaviours.
Those tweets can be mapped to particular locations and related to actual HIV trends, researchers found.

What's needed now is the updated infrastructure and sophisticated toolkits to handle all of those data, Young said, noting that there are about 500 million communications sent every day on Twitter alone.

He is working with a team of University of California computer scientists to meet that challenge now.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A fruit vendor, holding an umbrella, waits for customers at a street in Kolkata on Thursday.

A fruit vendor, holding an umbrella, waits for customers at a street in Kolkata on Thursday.

Ranbir Kapoor, actor and co-owner Mumbai City FC meeting fans during the Indian Super League...

Ranbir Kapoor, actor and co-owner Mumbai City FC meeting fans during the Indian Super League...

India's Ramandeep Singh in action against Austria in their final encounter of the Europe Tour...

India's Ramandeep Singh in action against Austria in their final encounter of the Europe Tour...

People from Parsi community cut a cake to celebrate their new year, Navroze, in Ahmedabad on ...

People from Parsi community cut a cake to celebrate their new year, Navroze, in Ahmedabad on ...

Nail artist Murari Aditya, 75 years, shows his 38 inch long nails, at his residence in Kolkata ...

Nail artist Murari Aditya, 75 years, shows his 38 inch long nails, at his residence in Kolkata ...

The first batch of Dasara elephants being welcomed on their arrival at Mysuru Palace on Thursday.

The first batch of Dasara elephants being welcomed on their arrival at Mysuru Palace on Thursday.

: Participants struggle during a greased-pole climbing competition held as a part of independence...

: Participants struggle during a greased-pole climbing competition held as a part of independence...

Activist Irom Sharmila with her husband British citizen Desmond Coutinha after getting married...

Activist Irom Sharmila with her husband British citizen Desmond Coutinha after getting married...

A visitor looks at an art installation, symbolizing the partition of India and Pakistan...

A visitor looks at an art installation, symbolizing the partition of India and Pakistan...

Artist Sunil Paul gives finishing touches on a statue of St. Mother Teresa at his studio...

Artist Sunil Paul gives finishing touches on a statue of St. Mother Teresa at his studio...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.