Is Facebook effective in preventing HIV/STDs in scholarized adolescents? A cluster RCT

Roberto Moretti, M. Cremaschini, G. Brembilla, F. Fenili, M.N. Gambirasio, M. Valoti, Marco Bardus, Suzanne Suggs, G. Barbaglio

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Background: In Italy less than 60% of adolescents have a comprehensive knowledge on HIV/AIDS. Generally, there is an overestimation of the subjectively perceived knowledge on items related to AIDS that may have considerable implications on risk taking.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate a Facebook program on HIV and STDs prevention targeting a group of students attending high schools.
Design: The study implemented a “cluster randomized trial” design with two groups of classrooms: one received an educational intervention on Facebook and the second (control group) received no intervention.
Setting Participants: The sample included 405 students of aged 17.16 classrooms (265 students) participated in the intervention group and 8 classrooms (n=145) in the control group. Intervention: The intervention lasted one month. Both intervention and control groups completed an anonymous questionnaire before and after the intervention. Main Outcome Measures: A global index of knowledge on HIV/STD Prevention was measured in both intervention and control group.
Results: An increased level of knowledge was reported in both intervention and control groups. But the increase was significantly higher in the intervention cluster +7.1% than in the control one 1.8% (difference +5.3 two tailed p=0,0006). Risk-Behaviors did not significantly change after the intervention, probably due to the short time-lag between intervention and evaluation. Among the intervention group, at individual level, knowledge increased proportionally with the level of participation: + 6.2 among “low participants” and +9.3 among “intensive” participants.
Conclusion: Facebook intervention on the prevention of HIV / STDs for adolescents seems to be effective in improving the level of knowledge, feasible and has got a good appreciation by participants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1016
Number of pages5
JournalAustin Journal of HIV/AIDS Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016


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