Shrestha, R., Huedo-Medina, T., Altice, F., Krishnan, A., & Copenhaver, M.
AIDS and Behavior, December 2016. Abstract
Despite promising trends of the efficacy of mobile health (mHealth) based strategies to a broad range of health conditions, very few if any studies have been done in terms of the examining the use of mHealth in HIV prevention efforts among people who use drugs in treatment. Thus, the goal of this study was to gain insight into the real-world acceptance of mHealth approaches among high-risk people who use drugs in treatment. A convenience sample of 400 HIV-negative drug users, who reported drug- and/or sex-related risk behaviors, were recruited from a methadone clinic in New Haven, Connecticut. Participants completed standardized assessments of drug- and sex-related risk behaviors, neurocognitive impairment (NCI), and measures of communication technology access and utilization, and mHealth acceptance. We found a high prevalence of current ownership and use of mobile technologies, such as cell phone (91.5%) including smartphone (63.5%). Participants used mobile technologies to communicate mostly through phone calls (M = 4.25, SD = 1.24), followed by text messages (M = 4.21, SD = 1.29). Participants expressed interest in using mHealth for medication reminders (72.3%), receive information about HIV (65.8%), and to assess drug-related (72.3%) and sex-related behaviors (64.8%). Furthermore, participants who were neurocognitively impaired were more likely to use cell phone without internet and show considerable interest in using mHealth as compared to those without NCI. The findings from this study provide empirical evidence that mHealth-based programs, specifically cell phone text messaging-based health programs, may be acceptable to this high-risk population.