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SPNS Social Media Initiative Preliminary Findings

July 25, 2019

SPNS Social Media Initiative

Preliminary data are available from the recently concluded Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Program project, Use of Social Media to Improve Engagement, Retention, and Health Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum. This initiative has been a multi-site demonstration and evaluation of innovative social and digital media methods designed to identify, link, and retain underserved, uninsured, hard-to-reach youth and young adults (aged 13-34) with HIV in primary care and supportive services. Methods used have included a variety of social media, internet, and mobile-based technologies to improve engagement and retention in care, and viral suppression. Additional resources, including implementation manuals, will be available in late 2019 to early 2020.

Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC)

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) served as the Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC) for this initiative. The ETAC coordinated the multi-site evaluation, provided programmatic technical assistance to the demonstration sites, and led the publication and dissemination of findings, best practices, and lessons learned. 

Visit ETAC for Preliminary Findings

Demonstration Sites and Projects


Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation Inc., Corpus Christi, TX
The project adapted the ARTAS EBI for implementation via social media platforms (Mobile ARTAS), aimed at engaging recently diagnosed youth into HIV care. (Video | Slides)

Text Me, Girl: Text Messaging to Improve Linkage, Retention and Health Outcomes among HIV-positive Young Transgender Women

Friends Research Institute, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Participants received 3 theory-based text messages per day that were tailored for HIV-positive young transwomen. Following the 90-day intervention, participants could choose to opt in or out of continued weekly messages. (Video | Slides)

Y Get It?: Using Social Media to Do What You Need to Do

New York State Department of Health, Menands, NY
The Y Get It? Project is comprised of a mobile application developed in collaboration with Mt. Sinai App Lab and Peer Engagement and Educator Professionals (PEEPs) placed at two engagement hubs, Montefiore AIDS Center, and Long Island Crisis Center. (Video | Slides)

Healthvana and S.M.A.R.T.E.E.

Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL
Through the use of a downloadable smart phone app or web portal, this social media intervention engaged young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and transwomen of color aged 13 to 34 who are patients at HBHC. (Video | Slides)

Positive Peers Application (PPA)

The Metro Health System, Cleveland, OH
The Positive Peers Application (PPA) is a web-based mobile application for youth and young people aged 13-34 living with HIV. It featured information, social networking, and self-management tools to support HIV-related holistic care.  (Video | Slides)

OPT-In For Life

Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA
The intervention promoted the OPT-In For Life app and social media sites for current and newly enrolled Part C patients aged 13-34. The Part C clinics in the region utilized a select portion of the OPT-In app that allows for confidential messaging between patient and provider as a means to retain them in care and to encourage medication adherence and safer lifestyles.  (Video | Slides)

Positively Connected for Health (PC4H)

Philadelphia FIGHT, Philadelphia, PA
PC4H is structured to reach youth through three distinct yet coordinated social media approaches, including the iknowUshould2 platform, the Positively SmART mobile app, and APPlify Your Health.  (Video | Slides)

Health eNav: Digital HIV Care Navigation Services

San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
This project implemented digital navigation services encompassing a variety of text, mobile app, and social network platforms. The project will create a digital and social media safety net to identify, engage, and retain youth and young adults living with HIV in San Francisco.  (Video | Slides)


Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
The intervention harnessed established social media commonly used by young MSM and transgender women, including Facebook, text messaging, and established GPS-based mobile applications.  (Video | Slides)

Project ARK / E-Volution

The Washington University, Saint Louis, MO
The intervention used a combination of texting, videos posted via YouTube and other social networks, and an online support group to improve engagement of the target population along the HIV care continuum.  (Video | Slides)


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