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Welcome to the BATLab’s Weekly Lit Review, where every week we post peer-reviewed papers relevant to our research projects.

This week, take a look at this interesting paper published in JMIR in 2014:

Key words: HIV preventioneHealthhigh-risk MSMHIV testingHIV risk behaviorsSMSInternet


Background: While the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence rate has remained steady in most groups, the overall incidence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been steadily increasing in the United States. eHealth is a platform for health behavior change interventions and provides new opportunities for the delivery of HIV prevention messages.

Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the use of eHealth interventions for HIV prevention in high-risk MSM.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, OVID, ISI Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar, and Google for articles and grey literature reporting the original results of any studies related to HIV prevention in MSM and developed a standard data collection form to extract information on study characteristics and outcome data.

Results: In total, 13 articles met the inclusion criteria, of which five articles targeted HIV testing behaviors and eight focused on decreasing HIV risk behaviors. Interventions included Web-based education modules, text messaging (SMS, short message service), chat rooms, and social networking. The methodological quality of articles ranged from 49.4-94.6%. Wide variation in the interventions meant synthesis of the results using meta-analysis would not be appropriate.

Conclusions: This review shows evidence that eHealth for HIV prevention in high-risk MSM has the potential to be effective in the short term for reducing HIV risk behaviors and increasing testing rates. Given that many of these studies were short term and had other limitations, but showed strong preliminary evidence of improving outcomes, additional work needs to rigorously assess the use of eHealth strategies for HIV prevention in high-risk MSM.

This article was written by Rebecca Schnall1, RN, MPH, PhD; Jasmine Travers1, AGNP-C, RNMarlene Rojas1, MPH, MDAlex Carballo-Diéguez2, PhD

Contributors are from:

1Columbia University, School of Nursing, New York, NY, United States

2Columbia University, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, United States

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