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Researchers Find Success Using Facebook For HIV Education

(Credit: Aaron Tam/AFP/ Getty Images)

(Credit: Aaron Tam/AFP/ Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the biggest challenges in medicine today is to try and find ways to use social media to improve health.  Well, now, there’s a new report from The Annals of Internal Medicine which suggests that we might be using social media in new and creative ways and could use it with multiple diseases.

In this case, they took on HIV. Researchers invited 112 minority gay males — the fastest growing HIV population — to be in one of two Facebook groups. The first group discussed HIV prevention, and the second focused on general health.

After 12 weeks, men in the HIV Facebook group were actually 44 percent more likely to request a home HIV testing kit.

This is very important, because what it suggests is that people can be instructed, through social media, to take steps that could impact their own health.

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