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Drama and danger: the opportunities and challenges of promoting youth sexual health through online social networks

Publication Abstract

Veinot, Tiffany C.E., Terrance R. Campbell, Daniel J. Kruger, Alison Grodzinski, and Susan Franzen. 2011. "Drama and danger: the opportunities and challenges of promoting youth sexual health through online social networks." AIMA: Annual Symposium proceedings, 2011: 1436-1445.

Social networks affect both exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and associated risk behavior. Networks may also play a role in disparities in STI/HIV rates among African American youth. Accordingly, there is growing interest in the potential of social network-based interventions to reduce STI/HIV incidence in this group. However, any youth-focused network intervention must grapple with the role of technologies in the social lives of young people. We report results of 12 focus groups with 94 youth from one economically depressed city with a high STI/HIV prevalence. We examined how youth use information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to socialize with others, and how this aligns with their communication about sexuality and HIV/STIs. The study resulted in the generation of five themes: distraction, diversification, dramatization, danger management and dialogue. We consider implications of these findings for future development of online, social network-based HIV/STI prevention interventions for youth.

PMCID: PMC3243290. (Pub Med Central)

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