AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 1214–1227 | Cite as

Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Efficacy of a Live-Chat Social Media Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men

  • Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger
  • John E. Pachankis
  • Kristi E. Gamarel
  • Anthony Surace
  • Sarit A. Golub
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
Original Paper


Given the popularity of social media among young men who have sex with men (YMSM), and in light of YMSM’s elevated and increasing HIV rates, we tested the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a live chat intervention delivered on Facebook in reducing condomless anal sex and substance use within a group of high risk YMSM in a pre-post design with no control group. Participants (N = 41; 18–29 years old) completed up to eight one-hour motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral skills-based online live chat intervention sessions, and reported on demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral characteristics at baseline and immediately post-intervention. Analyses indicated that participation in the intervention (n = 31) was associated with reductions of days of drug and alcohol use in the past month and instances of anal sex without a condom (including under the influence of substances), as well as increases in knowledge of HIV-related risks at 3-month follow-up. This pilot study argues for the potential of this social media-delivered intervention to reduce HIV risk among a most vulnerable group in the United States, in a manner that was highly acceptable to receive and feasible to execute. A future randomized controlled trial could generate an intervention blueprint for providers to support YMSM’s wellbeing by reaching them regardless of their geographical location, at a low cost.


Young men who have sex with men HIV risk Motivational interviewing Cognitive behavioral skills training Substance use Mental health 



The MiCHAT Project was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (R03-DA031607, Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger, Principal Investigator). The authors acknowledge the contributions of the MiCHAT Project Team—Michael Adams, Alex Brousset, Chris Cruz, Javauni Forrest, Joshua Guthals, Chris Hietikko, Catherine Holder, Ruben Jimenez, Jonathan Lassiter, Drew Mullane, and Matthew Robinson. We also gratefully acknowledge Richard Jenkins for his support of the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger
    • 1
  • John E. Pachankis
    • 2
  • Kristi E. Gamarel
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anthony Surace
    • 1
  • Sarit A. Golub
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Hunter AIDS Research Team (HART), Hunter CollegeCity University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  2. 2.Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral SciencesYale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Health Psychology and Basic and Applied Social Psychology Doctoral Programs, the Graduate CenterCUNYNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST)New YorkUSA
  6. 6.CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter CollegeNew YorkUSA

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