This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grant R01DA039950; and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under Grant K12HS022981.
HIV -- Case studies, AIDS (Disease), AIDS (Disease) -- Clinical trials, Antiretroviral therapy, AIDS (Disease) -- Patients -- Counseling of
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence is suboptimal among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). Online interventions that incorporate social support represent new opportunities to improve adherence. This study focused on how social support was provided and sought within a technology-based ART adherence intervention. We coded and analyzed 1,751 messages. Within the social support messages, half of the time participants sought social support and half of the time they provided social support. Emotional and informational support were the most frequently exchanged forms. The most frequent topic that participants sought support around was interpersonal relationships (29%), followed by HIV care and treatment (28%). Similarly, 31% and 27% of messages in which participants provided support was related to HIV treatment and care and interpersonal relationships, respectively. HIV treatment and care issues most salient were ART adherence, lab results and upcoming tests, ART side effects, changes in ART regimens, and relationships with healthcare providers. Participants used the messaging feature in this intervention to spontaneously discuss and exchange support around HIV treatment and care. This analysis provided an opportunity to understand how participants informally interact with one another, how they seek and provide social support online, and their salient personal issues.
© 2021 by the authors
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Published as: Sun, C. J., Shato, T., Steinbaugh, A., Pradeep, S., Rivet Amico, K., & Horvath, K. (2022). Virtual voices: examining social support exchanged through participant-generated and unmoderated content in a mobile intervention to improve HIV antiretroviral therapy adherence among GBMSM. AIDS care, 1-9.