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U.S. News

Medical Library Association's Trusted Web List

February 23, 2011

A test of the health literacy of 28 students from two universities reveals that young people who have grown up in the Internet age do not always access the best information.


Kim Smith, an assistant professor of journalism at North Carolina A&T State University-Greensboro, asked students: "If a friend or loved one acquired HIV/AIDS, where would you go on the Internet to find information?" Nearly all the students typed "HIV and AIDS" into Google or Yahoo and were overwhelmed by the results. "They would just sit there in shock, like ?What the heck do I do with this?'" he said of the roughly 24 million hits that the search returned.

Ninety percent of the students, though confident in their investigational prowess, failed to utilize Google's clearly marked "advanced search" option to narrow results. "Without the skills to properly search for and evaluate the information, most students chose the top five links that appeared," said Smith. "Students expressed no concern over whether the information they were reading ... came from authoritative sources." Only one of the websites accessed was Medical Library Association (MLA) at

The following list is recommended by MLA for HIV/AIDS-related searches:

Back to other news for February 2011

Adapted from:
Charlotte Observer

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More HIV Prevention and Education Web Sites for Young People

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