Game for HIV-Positive Youth Developed
June 24, 2009
Researchers have reported positive results from pilot testing of a Web-based sexual risk reduction intervention that targets prevention messages toward HIV-positive youths. The game, "+CLICK," was designed as an adjunct to traditional clinic-based, self-management education for the youths.
"We wanted to create +CLICK so that we could help educate youth on the importance of making proper, healthy decisions to protect their relationships and themselves as well as help to reduce transmission of [HIV]," said Christine Markham, PhD, lead investigator and an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health.
The study participants were 32 young people; mean age was 17.8; 62.5 percent were females; 68.8 percent were black; 28.1 percent were Hispanic; 56.2 percent acquired HIV perinatally; 43.8 percent were infected through behavior; and 68.8 percent were sexually experienced.
The game's design replicates a shopping mall. +CLICK presents information on abstinence, condoms, and contraception, and it includes video of HIV experts and HIV-positive peers. Four behaviors are targeted in particular: abstaining from sex; self-disclosure of HIV status to a potential partner; correct and consistent condom use; and use of an effective contraceptive in addition to condoms. Participants accessed the game during regularly scheduled clinic visits.
"Participants were very receptive and enthusiastic about playing the game," said Amy Leonard, MPH, research coordinator at Baylor School of Medicine and a study co-author. "They also liked that they were able to ask the clinicians questions about what they learned on the lessons." The youths rated the game highly for ease of use (84.4 percent); use of understandable words (87.5 percent); and trustworthiness (93.8 percent).
+CLICK is in the final stages of development and is tentatively scheduled to be made available to the public in about six months. The team is also working to create a similar game to encourage HIV-positive youths to adhere to their medication regimens.
The study, "+CLICK: Harnessing Web-Based Training to Reduce Secondary Transmission Among HIV-Positive Youth," was published in AIDS Care (2009;21(5):622-631).