Social networking web sites: How receptive are users to accessing information about HIV?
The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to pose a severe health threat to
young Americans. The popularity of using social networking websites
(SNSs) has grown considerably over the past few years, and
they offer an opportunity to reach people with HIV prevention messages.
Receptivity to messages about HIV delivered through SNSs
has not been assessed to our knowledge. Our study explored users’
receptivity to receiving information about HIV through the SNSs
they use. We first assessed whether respondents currently use the
Internet to look for information about HIV. Next, we presented several
hypothetical scenarios about how they may obtain information
about HIV through an SNS and gauged their reactions to each scenario.
About one-quarter of respondents were receptive to receiving
information about HIV via an SNS. Forty-one percent would open a
message about HIV from a person or organization on their friends
list, 21% would open a message about HIV if the source was not on
their friends list, and 60% were interested in completing a personal
risk assessment for HIV online via an SNS. The rapid growth of
SNSs presents a significant opportunity to reach individuals with
HIV prevention messages, but these efforts need to be evaluated to