Currently submitted to: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Date Submitted: May 7, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: May 10, 2019 - Jul 5, 2019
(currently open for review)
UBESAFE: prevention of HIV and others STI by geofencing and contextualized messages with a gamified App
Advances in the development of information and communication technologies have facilitated social and sexual interrelationships thanks to websites and Apps created to this end. However, these resources can also encourage sexual contacts without appropriate preventive measures in relation to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). How can users be helped to benefit from the advantages of these Apps while keeping in mind those preventive measures?
To prevent STI by helping users to remember preventive measures in the risky situations.
We have used the design and creation methodology and have developed a software system. This system has two parts: an Android OS application with emphasis on ubiquitous computing and gamification, as well as a server with a web page. First, a functional test with 5 men who have sex with men (MSM) allowed us to test the App with end-users. Also, a feasibility test with 4 MSM for a month allowed us to try the UBESAFE system with all its functionalities.
The main result is a system called UBESAFE that is addressed to MSM. The system has two main parts: 1) an App that sends preventive contextualized messages to users when: they use a contact application, or when they are near a point where sexual contacts are likely; and 2) a server part that was managed by the public health agency of Barcelona (ASPB), which preserves quality and pertinence of messages and places and offers instant help to users. To increase users’ adherence, UBESAFE uses a gamified system to engage users in the creation of preventive messages. Users increased the initial pool of messages and hot zones by more than 100% and 56.25% respectively.
The system helped MSM who used it to become conscious about HIV and other STI. On the other hand, the system helped the ASPB to stay in contact with MSM and to detect behaviors that could benefit from preventive measures. All this has been done in a non-intrusive way since users used the App privately. Furthermore, the system has shown how important it is to make the users part of the creation process, as well as to develop Apps that work by themselves, i.e. that become useful to users.
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