HIV continues to be an important public health problem. The web, social media and new mobile technologies are gaining considerable potential in overcoming the stigma in order to promote continuity of care, the possibility to stay in contact with one's doctor and with the peer community, offering an alternative to traditional social structures. The purpose of this survey it was to investigate the opinions and behavior of people with HIV regarding the use of these technologies.
Methods: The survey was designed with the involvement of the main associations of patients and/or communities affected by HIV infection on the national territory, which have oriented the definition of objectives and research tools to a qualitative level. An exploratory survey was carried out aimed at all people with HIV in Italy who use Internet. The questionnaire could be completed online only and was distributed and administered by the associations through their websites, newsletters and general social media (Facebook, Twitter) for three months.
Results: 265 people responded on a national level. According to the patients the information obtained from the internet was not useful in the relationship with the infectiologist (70%) and social media is considered to be of little use as a communication tool with the doctor (33%). Only 7% communicate with the infectiologist through social media and only 3% use peer communities such as blogs and forums. The new mobile technologies are instead considered promising tools to support the treatment of the disease (70%).
Discussion: It is essential to strengthen peer communication and, as emerges from the perception of people with HIV, overcome the possible resistance of health professionals so that the opportunities offered by these tools can improve the care and support of people with HIV.