Researchers from The University of Texas School of Public Health have designed a game that will help create awareness among HIV+ youth and reduce secondary transmission of the virus.
Dr. Christine Markham, and Dr. Ross Shegog, assistant professors of behavioral sciences at Baylor College have developed a game called +CLICK, which is adjunct to the youths' traditional clinic-based self-management education.
"We wanted to create +CLICK so that we could help educate youth on the importance of making proper, healthy decisions to protect their relationships and themselves as well as help to reduce transmission of the HIV virus," said Markham, lead investigator of the study.
Replicating a shopping mall, study participants travel through lessons on abstinence, condoms and contraception, and also watch video clips from experts and peers who are also HIV+.
According to the researchers +CLICK is designed to target four behaviors: choosing not to have sex; disclosing HIV status to a potential partner; using condoms correctly and consistently; and using an effective method of birth control along with condoms.
Participants were able to play several of the game's lessons in approximately 15 minutes during their regularly scheduled clinic visits.
"Participants were very receptive and enthusiastic about playing the game," said co-researcher Amy Leonard, M.P.H., research coordinator at Baylor College of Medicine.
"They also liked that they were able to ask the clinicians questions about what they learned on the lessons," she added.
The game, which is in the last stages of development, is tentatively scheduled to be available to the public in approximately six months.
The study is published in the May issue of AIDS Care.