AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 2312–2321 | Cite as

Mobile Phone Questionnaires for Sexual Risk Data Collection Among Young Women in Soweto, South Africa

  • Janan J. Dietrich
  • Erica Lazarus
  • Michele Andrasik
  • Stefanie Hornschuh
  • Kennedy Otwombe
  • Cecilia Morgan
  • Abby J. Isaacs
  • Yunda Huang
  • Fatima Laher
  • James G. Kublin
  • Glenda E. Gray
  • for the HVTN 915 study team
Original Paper


Recall and social desirability bias undermine self-report of paper-and-pencil questionnaires. Mobile phone questionnaires may overcome these challenges. We assessed and compared sexual risk behavior reporting via in-clinic paper-and-pencil and mobile phone questionnaires. HVTN 915 was a prospective cohort study of 50 adult women in Soweto, who completed daily mobile phone, and eight interviewer-administered in-clinic questionnaires over 12 weeks to assess sexual risk. Daily mobile phone response rates were 82% (n = 3486/4500); 45% (n = 1565/3486) reported vaginal sex (median sex acts 2 (IQR: 1–3)) within 24 h and 40% (n = 618/1565) consistent condom. Vaginal sex reporting was significantly higher via mobile phone across all visits (p < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in condom use reporting by mobile phone and in-clinic paper-based questionnaires across all visits (p = 0.5134). The results show high adherence and reporting of sex on the mobile phone questionnaire. We demonstrate feasibility in collecting mobile phone sexual risk data.


Daily diaries Mobile health (mhealth) Mobile phone Momentary ecological assessments Africa 



The authors wish to thank the trial participants, the HVTN core, the Soweto Clinical Research Site study team, and iKapadata. The HVTN 915 study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) U.S. Public Health Service Grants UM1 AI068614 [LOC: HIV Vaccine Trials Network], UM1 AI068635 [SDMC: HIV Vaccine Trials Network], UM1 AI068618 [HVTN Laboratory Center] and UM1 AI069453 [Soweto-Bara Clinical Research Site]. Dr. Janan Dietrich received a Thuthuka post Ph.D. funding award (2014–2016) from the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). Any opinion, findings, conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is solely the responsibility of the authors, and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAID, National Institutes of Health (NIH), or SA NRF. Any opinion, finding, conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the authors and the SA NRF does not accept any liability in this regard.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study involved human participants. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the HVTN, the University of the Witwatersrand and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janan J. Dietrich
    • 1
  • Erica Lazarus
    • 1
  • Michele Andrasik
    • 2
  • Stefanie Hornschuh
    • 1
  • Kennedy Otwombe
    • 1
  • Cecilia Morgan
    • 2
  • Abby J. Isaacs
    • 2
  • Yunda Huang
    • 2
  • Fatima Laher
    • 1
  • James G. Kublin
    • 2
    • 3
  • Glenda E. Gray
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • for the HVTN 915 study team
  1. 1.Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Vaccine and Infectious Disease DivisionFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Global HealthUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.South African Medical Research CouncilCape TownSouth Africa

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