Mobile devices may determine HIV transmission risks
Recent federal funding will allow Yale School of Public Health researchers to develop and test methods to accurately assess the overall effects of GPS tracking and cell phone monitoring on HIV risk behavior and substance abuse. By examining where people go and when they use dating apps, the researchers can better understand how risky behavior changes depending on a person’s location and social interactions.
Cell phone apps using GPS systems to easily locate sexual partners make the importance of examining geographic and social context even more crucial to understanding these influences on HIV risk.
“By employing smartphones to assess individuals in the moment based on their GPS or use of dating apps, data can be collected that captures the factors related to HIV risk and substance use by monitoring whether frequenting certain locations or being with certain people may trigger unsafe behavior,” explains Trace Kershaw, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at YSPH. “This will allow us to develop interventions that can be delivered in real-time tailored to a person’s specific location and context and to unleash the power of technology to improve health equity.”