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Can Cell Phones Help Fight HIV / AIDS?

Summary
A research study conducted by public health expert Ralph DiClemente suggests that behavioral interventions using cell phones can significantly reduce HIV-associated behaviors and sexually transmitted infections.  The study illustrates that a booster session of a short phone call every other month significantly reduced Chlamydia incidence at 18 months (6.6% vs. 14.2%) when compared to a control group.

Implications
DiClemente’s research suggests that maintenance phone calls delivered by counselors who facilitated the HIV-prevention session can sustain the effects of an HIV prevention program. With appropriate use, cell phone technology will help reinforce the impact of Grassroot Soccer’s programs for participants outside of its interventions.  Grassroot Soccer’s Research & Development (R&D) team is thus examining methods to utilize mobile phone programming as an additional post-intervention “touch-point”.

Action Steps
Grassroot Soccer is currently exploring how these findings will benefit its Generation Skillz Randomized Controlled Trial – the biggest trial to date of a school-based HIV prevention program.  The RCT is scheduled to start in South Africa in 2012.