A review of HIV prevention studies that use social networking sites: Implications for recruitment, health promotion campaigns, and efficacy trials


This review describes the use of social networking sites (SNS) in the context of primary prevention of HIV. A review was conducted to assess the published literature for HIV interventions using SNS. Sixteen articles describing twelve interventions were included. SNS were instrumental in recruiting hard-to-reach populations within a short amount of time; were able to reach wide audiences beyond the targeted population for HIV prevention campaigns; and helped to significantly reduce sexual risk behaviors and increase HIV testing. SNS are a viable option to recruit hidden populations, engage the target audience, and disseminate HIV prevention messages. Researchers should use SNS to generate sampling frames that can be used to select participants. Practitioners should use SNS to post images of preventive behavior within health promotion campaigns. Researchers should use multiple SNS platforms to engage participants. As more studies are published using SNS for HIV prevention, meta-analyses will be needed.


Jones J, Salazar LF.




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention
    • Education/media campaigns


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