If an HIV prevention program was offered online, 53% of youth would be somewhat or extremely likely to access it; slightly fewer (47%) felt the same about an SMS-based program. In comparison, 73% said they would be likely to access a program if it were offered at school. Email was the least endorsed delivery mechanism (38%).
Interestingly, girls (52%) were more likely than boys (38%) to like an SMS-based delivery, but similar percentages were noted for Internet delivery (56% versus 55%, respectively).
Slightly more youth who rated their likelihood of getting HIV to be above average were interested in Internet delivery (51%) compared to SMS (46%).
Similar trends were noted for youth who were tired of hearing messages about HIV prevention.
Opportunities for technology-based HIV prevention among secondary students in Cape Town, South Africa
Monday, November 4, 2013
Opportunities for technology-based HIV prevention among
secondary students in Cape Town, South Africa
Michele L. Ybarra MPH PhD, Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San
Kelvin Mwaba PhD, University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Nicolette Roman PhD, University of Western Cape, South Africa
Bronwyn Rooi BA, University of Western Cape, South Africa
Tonya Prescott BA, Center for Innovative Public Health Research. , San
Sheana Bull PhD, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA
The authors have no conflicts to declare.
The project described was supported by Grant
Number R03MH094238 from the National Institute
of Mental Health. The content is solely the
responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily
represent the official views of the National Institute of
Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.
We would like to thank our collaborators at CiPHR
and University Western Cape, as well as Dr.
Leickness Simbayi, our consultant. We’d also like to
thank the schools for their support of the research
and the participants for their time taking the survey.
Estimates suggest that if the current HIV
infection rates remain stable in South
Africa, 50% of 15-year-olds alive today will
die from AIDS.
Effective programs exist in South Africa, but
they are not having the intended impact.
Programs that are easily scaled up and that
address structural and fidelity
challenges, are urgently needed.
Joint United Nations Programme On HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) (2000). AIDS epidemic update:
December 2000. Geneva: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World
Health Organization (WHO). Available on the world wide web at:
Programs are only as impactful as they are
interesting and engaging to youth, however.
Needs assessments are critical in this
regard so that researchers can understand
the acceptability of program delivery across
Image from: http://www.nspreview.org/wpcontent/uploads/2013/06/youth.jpg
Cape Town Adolescent Health
In 2012, 1,107 10th – 11th graders completed a
Respondents were enrolled in one of three
public high schools located in predominantly
black, lower income neighborhoods in Cape
Youth answered questions about experiences
and exposures related to sex and HIV; and
about opportunities for HIV prevention
programming that might be particularly salient
and interesting for youth.
Respondents were on average, 17.6 years
of age (SD: 1.3, Range: 16-24).
59% percent were female
96% were Black.
44% percent of respondents’ fathers had
completed secondary school or less
(equivalent to a high school education in
Access to technology
Text messaging 1%
Decline to answer
Likelihood of accessing an HIV prevention
program if it were available via…
Decline to answer
12% 10% 5%
Not at all likely
Interest by mode and biological
Interest by mode and selfappraised likelihood of getting
Less than average chance
Above average chance to get hIV
Interest by mode and selfappraised HIV programming
Somewhat/very extremely tired of HIV
Data are from three purposefully selected
high schools in Cape Town, South Africa.
The generalizability of these data to greater
South Africa, and youth not enrolled in high
school is unknown.
Given the sensitivity of the topic and the
stigma related to both HIV/AIDS and sexual
behavior among adolescents in South
Africa, it is possible that some youth did not
Access to the Internet and SMS is high
among low income adolescents attending
high school in Cape Town.
Internet programs may be more
acceptable, and therefore have the
potential to reach more youth than SMS.
Given the preference for school-based
programming, embedding the intervention
within a school