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Using social and sexual networking mobile applications to promote HIV testing, medical care and prevention services among Latino men who have sex with men in Los Angeles County, California, USA - medtigo

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Using social and sexual networking mobile applications to promote HIV testing, medical care and prevention services among Latino men who have sex with men in Los Angeles County, California, USA

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PLoS One. 2022 May 13;17(5):e0268406. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268406. eCollection 2022.

ABSTRACT

HIV disproportionately affects Latinos versus Whites, with Latinos having higher rates of HIV. Additionally, many HIV-positive Latinos are unaware of their infection. Proyecto Protégete, an HIV prevention intervention developed for Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), used social and sexual networking mobile applications (apps) to recruit individuals for HIV testing and linkage to medical care and prevention services. This study occurred in Los Angeles County, California, USA from December 18, 2015 to April 22, 2017. The study’s primary aim was to assess Proyecto Protégete’s ability to successfully recruit Latino MSM involved in high-risk sexual activities. A secondary aim was to evaluate its capacity to promote HIV testing and linkage to HIV medical care and prevention services among this population by comparing it to two programs with similar samples. Comparisons using Fisher’s Exact Test were conducted between Proyecto Protégete and the HIV testing program of the agency in which Proyecto Protégete was located and the County-funded HIV testing programs to compare the samples’ rates of HIV-positive Latino MSM identified through HIV testing and linked to HIV medical care and prevention services. Participants were recruited through seven apps. In Proyecto Protégete, 9,573 individuals completed the screener, 4,657 were eligible, and 359 (7.7% of those eligible) enrolled. Among those enrolled, 79% reported anal sex without a condom in the previous twelve months; 51% reported anal sex under the influence of alcohol. The HIV positivity rates were as follows: Proyecto Protégete, 1.71%; the agency, 1.25% (p = .293, compared to Proyecto Protégete); and the County, 1.09% (p = .172, compared to Proyecto Protégete). The rates of those confirmed as new HIV-positives and linked to medical care within 30 days were as follows: Proyecto Protégete, 71.4%; the agency, 81.5% (p = .450, compared to Proyecto Protégete); and the County, 77.3% (p = .503, compared to Proyecto Protégete). Proyecto Protégete had a higher rate of linked referrals to prevention services than the agency’s testing program (19.5% versus 8.3%, p < .001). Proyecto Protégete experienced successes in some areas but not in others. Future research should build on Proyecto Protégete’s experiences to promote HIV-related services among Latino MSM.

PMID:35560041 | PMC:PMC9106153 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0268406

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