Effects of an Internet-Based Intervention for HIV Prevention: The Youthnet Trials
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Youth use the Internet and computers in unprecedented numbers. We have yet to identify interventions that can reach and retain large numbers of diverse youth online and demonstrate HIV prevention efficacy. We tested a single session condom promotion Internet intervention for 18–24 year olds in two RCTs: one sample recruited online and one recruited in clinics. All study elements were carried out on the Internet. Using repeated measures structural equation models we analyzed change in proportion of sex acts protected by condoms (PPA) over time. Among sexually active youth in the Internet sample, persons exposed to the intervention had very slight increases in condom norms, and this was the only factor impacting PPA. We saw no intervention effects in the clinic sample. Internet-based interventions need to be more intensive to see greater effects. We need to do more to reach high risk youth online and keep their attention for multiple sessions.
KeywordsInternet and HIV prevention Randomized controlled trial HIV prevention and youth Technology-based HIV prevention
We gratefully acknowledge the partnership of the Denver Public Health Department and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for their collaboration in recruitment of the clinic sample. We also acknowledge the National Institute of Mental Health and our Project Officer, Dr. Willo Pequegnat, for their support of this research, NIH/NIMH -RO1MH063690 and R01MH063690-S.
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