Evaluation of web-based resources for HIV+ youth

Widumini Manesha Liyanage, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Given current rates of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in youth ages 15–24, comprehensive care is imperative in order to manage the virus and to prevent further transmission. In the past decade, the Internet has become an immensely popular source for information, including health information. Due to the increase in Internet use for this purpose, the assessment of the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of health information on the Internet is necessary since the information delivered may not be current or accurate. The purpose of this study was to determine the quantity and quality of websites containing health information and resources directed specifically towards HIV positive youth. Three general search terms, “HIV + teens”, “HIV teens info”, and “HIV infected teens,” were searched using the current top three search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and MSN/Bing. The first hundred hits of each search were then categorized by type of website. The examination of the search results yielded 7 sites that met the inclusion criteria. These sites were consequently evaluated on functionality and content using an adapted version of a pre-existing instrument. The functionality analysis revealed that no websites that contained self management information were dedicated specifically to HIV positive youth. The content analysis showed that the sites chosen for evaluation were mostly consistent with the guidelines provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. The most discussed topics in the sites included the importance of safer sexual behavior, HIV counseling, partner notification, safer behavior choices, such as condom use, and mental health. These results highlight the need for the development of accessible websites that contain accurate information targeting youth infected with HIV. This study provides a snapshot of the available web-based resources and health information for HIV positive youth, and is relevant for health educators, care providers, researchers, and others intervening with HIV+ youth.

Subject Area

Information Technology|Web Studies|Health education|Information science

Recommended Citation

Liyanage, Widumini Manesha, "Evaluation of web-based resources for HIV+ youth" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1505116.