Original Article: bit.ly/1nQQtKN
In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV.
Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, Sean Young of the Center for Digital Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes in an October 29th article in the Cell Press journal Trends in Microbiology of a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.
"We know that mining social media will have huge potential benefits for many areas of medicine in the future, but we’re still in the early stages of testing how powerful these technologies will be," Young said.
Young details a social-media-based intervention in which African American and Latino men who have sex with men shared a tremendous amount of personal information through social media, including when or whether they had ‘come out,’ as well as experiences of homelessness and stigmatization. What’s more, they found that people who discussed HIV prevention topics on social media were more than twice as likely to later request an HIV test.
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