Currently, the incidence of HIV cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) is increasing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 21% of the HIV population is unaware of their HIV status. Those unaware of their HIV status are central to the spread of HIV and are difficult to engage in care. This project will develop and provide preliminary feasibility data for a peer-delivered social technology intervention using a variety of technologies (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, text messaging) to increase HIV testing and engage potential unaware MSM in medical care and related services. We will develop a web-based training program for MSM peer educators to promote norms and messages around HIV testing at Circle Care Center in Norwalk, Connecticut. The social technology intervention will focus on testing and treatment services at Circle Care Center and will provide general information about HIV, the importance of testing, and information about available medical and social services. The intervention will have peer educators reach out to their social network using a variety of social technologies to encourage HIV testing and the use of services at Circle Care Center. The intervention will also develop web-based support and information services that peer educators can encourage their social network to visit, including an intervention Facebook page, Twitter account, and web-based support services from a Virtual Quilt community that includes postings of personal stories, chat room sharing, and dialogue.
The community partner for this project is The CIRCLE CARE Center in Norwalk, CT.
Funded by the Community Research Partnership Program of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA)