Learn to Use the Internet at Body Positive
Body Positive's Electronic Treatment Education Project (ETEP), funded by The National Library of Medicine, is currently underway. The project teaches people living with HIV, care givers and service providers how to access treatment information and HIV/AIDS related issues on the Internet.
People living with HIV/AIDS have a critical need to know more about treatment options, and need to keep abreast of the most effective combination therapies and learn about the wide range of psychosocial and alternative medical options. The Internet can be a great resource to satisfy the information hungry HIV/AIDS consumer.
Consumers, many of whom have little or no experience with computers, learn to navigate the Internet through hands-on learning. The ETEP is divided into two parts held on separately scheduled days. During the first class consumers are introduced to the Internet and its potential for addressing treatment issues. Then they become familiar with the Internet, exploring a few HIV/AIDS related sites. No class is ever the same as the curriculum changes based on the interests and needs of the consumers in attendance that day. For example, one class listened to a lecture downloaded from the Internet about protease inhibitor clinical trial results; another class perused a web site on needle exchange efforts in St. Paul, Minnesota.
During the second class, consumers learn more about how to go about searching for specific web sites -- for example, how to find sites related to acupuncture or research currently in progress at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once they find a site, they learn to critically evaluate it, answering such questions as "Who designed this web site?" "What is the intention of the site?" and "How current is the information?" We view these types of questions about treatment information on the Internet as a vital component toward empowering the consumer.
The information gleaned from the Internet can then be applied in various ways. For example, a group of peer educators at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn now uses information found on the Internet as the curriculum for a drug and alcohol workshop they run. Along different lines, Body Positive has discovered on-line articles about adherence to HIV/AIDS medications; in this case, the Internet serves as a unique forum for research articles about a quickly changing research topic.
While the Internet is not the answer all to the plethora of questions that arise from the ever-changing HIV/AIDS world, it is an excellent tool for accessing information that you just can't find elsewhere. And it's available to you with a click of the mouse button. Small classes are held at Body Positive or at community-based organizations (CBOs) that have Internet access. They run for about an hour and a half. For more information about ETEP or to schedule a class, please contact Body Positive at (212) 566-7333 and ask for Neil Sachs or Marcelo Marer.
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.