Recommended Guidelines: Social Networking for HIV Prevention Research

Young SD. Recommended guidelines on using social networking technologies for HIV prevention research. AIDS Behav. 2012 Oct;16(7):1743-5. PMCID: PMC3459230.

Can modern social media technology be used as a tool for HIV prevention research? In the past, venue-based and street interviews were used to conduct research among target communities. But with the sharp rise and popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter over the past several years, researchers have begun to take advantage of such platforms to engage in preliminary studies to test their usefulness in gathering information. In his commentary published in AIDS Behavior, CBAM faculty member Dr. Sean Young lays out guidelines for using online networking sites to collect research data from at-risk populations in hopes of assessing feasibility of its use for HIV prevention and treatment.

Guidelines in the paper include creating a plan for addressing duplicate respondents, participant privacy and confidentiality issues, and assessing the lifespan of any given social media platform. Dr. Young also acknowledges the importance of including research collaborators who are familiar with the world of social media networking technologies.

To read the full text of the guidelines, click here.



CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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