Despite the somewhat taboo history of HIV/AIDS, there is no doubt that the disease is continuing to be a problem in the United States and around the world. As a matter of fact, a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that Americans’ sense of urgency about HIV/AIDS has decreased significantly, as well as thoughts and concerns about personal protection.
This is no good folks. Especially for our young people who are continually being exposed to sexually explicit material on and offline. It is vital that we continue to raise the bar on how we educate them on making intelligent decisions about their lifestyles that will not only protect them from HIV/AIDS but will encourage them to evaluate other choices. In the health gaming world, interactivity is key and today I was pleased to come across news of a game in the works that addresses HIV/AIDS among teens.
The reality is, there are young people already infected with HIV but that doesn’t mean the education stops for them – in fact, it’s all the more important. Last week, news surfaced about +CLICK, an interactive game aimed at HIV positive teenagers to help them make smart decisions and help manage their condition.
The game was created from a research study from the folks over at the University of Texas School of Public Health. The study participants were 32 young people; mean age was 17.8; 62.5 percent were females; 68.8 percent were black; 28.1 percent were Hispanic; 56.2 percent acquired HIV perinatally; 43.8 percent were infected through behavior; and 68.8 percent were sexually experienced.
“We wanted to create +CLICK so that we could help educate youth on the importance of making proper, healthy decisions to protect their relationships and themselves as well as help to reduce transmission of [HIV],” said Christine Markham, PhD, lead investigator and an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health.
+CLICK is in the final stages of development and according to the article, should be available to the public in about 6 months. I’m pretty excited about this namely because I haven’t heard of anything that could have the potential of positive impact for youth with HIV. This is quite an innovative way to begin tackling a need that has been around for a while. The results of the pilot study are available in the May 2009 edition of AIDS Care.
Another interesting game, that you can check out right now, was developed by UNICEF and their Voices of Youth program. What Would You Do? is a basic text/Flash based online game that allows young people to involve themselves in a scenario that most likely would happen as they interact with their peers. The game focuses on prevention messages and giving the young person the ability to think about the consequences of social activities as it applies to HIV/AIDS.
Here at healthGAMERS we are all about the serious and important impact that games can and will have on our society’s health. Stay tuned as we await the launch of +CLICK – you know we will be covering it!
For more information on how the Web is being used to fight against HIV/AIDS, do yourself a favor and check out the AIDS.gov blog for great case studies and initiatives.