Text messaging for HIV prevention with young Black men: formative research and campaign development

AIDS Care. 2011 May;23(5):534-41. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2010.524190.


This article describes the formative research and campaign development for a pilot study to test the feasibility of using cell phone text messaging to promote HIV prevention for young African-American men. We conducted six focus groups with Black men aged 16-20 (N=43) in order to obtain feedback on the campaign content and how best to convey sexual health information via text message using cell phones. We present three main findings: (1) the participants' ideas for conducting this research and how to structure our campaign design; (2) how we broadened our theoretical perspective from an individual focus to an empowerment and social capital focus in order to best communicate a culturally relevant program; and (3) the young adult's specific suggestions for how best to operationalize theoretical constructs related to empowerment and social capital. We found that young Black men were receptive to the idea of receiving text messages for an HIV prevention campaign. As technology proliferates, this work offers specific ideas for how to capitalize on new technological modalities to deliver important communications on prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Philadelphia
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Development
  • Safe Sex
  • Sexual Abstinence
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Young Adult