Test4HepC: Promoting Hepatitis C Testing to Baby Boomers Using Social Media

Health Promot Pract. 2020 Sep;21(5):780-790. doi: 10.1177/1524839919833987. Epub 2019 Mar 10.

Abstract

Individuals born between 1945 and 1965 ("baby boomers") account for an estimated three quarters of all hepatitis C (HCV) infections in the United States. This article describes the evaluation of Test4HepC, a program that uses social media and a website to promote HCV testing to baby boomers in Los Angeles County, California. The first 16 months of Test4HepC were evaluated using an online survey (n = 302), qualitative interviews (n = 20), website and social media analytics, and records of free testing offered though the program. Test4HepC.org had 6,919 visitors; 48 individuals used the free testing offered. Within 1 month of visiting the website, 24.5% (74) of survey participants tested for HCV, 67.6% (50) received a negative HCV antibody test result, 2.7% (2) received a positive HCV antibody test result, and 25.7% (19) had not received their results as of taking the survey. Most of those not tested (60.5%) reported intention to test. In multivariable analysis, male sex and high perceived usefulness of the program website were associated with HCV testing. Qualitative interviews suggested that Test4HepC increased baby boomers' HCV risk perception and encouraged testing. Social media is a promising strategy for promoting HCV testing to baby boomers. Expanding Test4HepC to other areas and prioritizing the highest risk baby boomers could enable many people with HCV to benefit from new treatments.

Keywords: aging; program planning and evaluation; social marketing/health communication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't