Social media based strategies to reach Hispanic young adults with tailored sexual health information

Sofia B Fernandez, Eric F Wagner, Michelle Hospital, Melissa Howard, Staci Leon Morris


Abstract: Hispanics constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. As the country’s fastest growing demographic, social welfare and public health professionals need to focus on ameliorating HIV-related health disparities affecting Hispanics. This study evaluated an innovative HIV prevention effort with Hispanic young adults in South Florida that utilized a social media based platform to increase access to critical HIV prevention information and services. This study (1) evaluated the effectiveness of exposure to the online campaign using an experimental design and (2) provided a systematic review of the campaign’s content and user interactivity. Hispanic young adults (ages 18-24) completed baseline and follow-up assessments focused on risk perceptions and incorporation of HIV preventive behaviors. Mixed ANOVA and logistic regression analysis revealed no significant differences between groups (exposure versus no exposure to the online campaign); however, there was a statistically significant increase in awareness of HIV prevention services across both study conditions (p< .001). Findings reflect the challenges of and opportunities for conducting HIV prevention work online and suggest areas of future research for enhancing online engagement among hard to reach populations.

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