XIX International AIDS Conference


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THPE153 - Poster Exhibition

A qualitative study to inform the development of a videogame for minority adolescent HIV risk reduction and prevention

L. Fiellin, K. Hieftje, M. Rosenthal, D. Camenga, E.J. Edelman

Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, United States

Background: Nearly 40% and 45% of new HIV infections in the U.S. and globally, respectively, are in adolescents/young adults, disproportionately affecting minorities. Videogames, which are ubiquitous, can foster skill development translating into improved health behavior and outcomes. They have not been evaluated for HIV prevention in young minority adolescents. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine factors that minority youth identify that impact their participation in risk behaviors to ultimately inform the development of a videogame designed to reduce risk and promote HIV prevention.
Methods: We used qualitative methods guided by community-partnered research principles to conduct and analyze 16 individual interviews and six focus groups (36 unique participants) at an urban neighborhood-based organization serving minority adolescents.
Results: Sixteen boys and 20 girls aged 10-15 years (mean=12 years) participated in individual interviews (n=11), focus groups (n=20), or both (n= 5). Seventeen (47%) were Latino, 14 African-American (39%), 3 (8%) multiracial, and 2 (6%) white. The factors they perceived to be associated with engagement in risk behaviors centered on three themes: 1) their ability to balance the tension between individuation and group membership; 2) the presence of stable mentor figures in their life; and 3) their perception that their neighborhood could facilitate or hinder their avoidance of risk. The game is being designed to give players the opportunity to adopt and practice risk reduction skills, such as learning to refuse peer pressure, identifying positive mentor characters in the game, and negotiating risk situations in the game environment, anticipating these skills to transfer to real life, reducing risk including risk for HIV infection.
Conclusions: Qualitative methods can identify themes that may directly translate into character and plot development of a videogame. This work represents an important step towards optimizing novel interventions for HIV prevention in young minority adolescents by specifically tailoring the intervention to them.

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