By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin student writer
Social Welfare professor Ian Holloway, with the help of some UCLA Luskin students, is leading a research project called the Healthy Selfie project, which aims to find ways mobile phones can be used to improve healthcare, particularly for young gay men.
In an LA Times article, Holloway said that although HIV infection rates have plateaued nationwide, they have increased among young, gay men of color. Since mobile phones are so accessible in the U.S., mobile apps present the potential to target these groups, which can be hard to reach.
The Healthy Selfie project would explore how mobile phone apps can offer gay and bisexual men a centralized spot to get authoritative health guidance on HIV, Holloway said.
The article quotes Holloway as saying: “The new venues are phone applications, websites, chat rooms and message boards,” he said. “These are the places guys meet each other, for a variety of purposes. Why not bring prevention to those digital spaces?”
The project however faces several challenges including protecting the privacy of health information, building apps that would be appealing to patients and providing doctors with accurate and consistent data.