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Analysis of online social networking peer health educators.

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Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA,USA.


This study seeks to determine whether peer leaders can be recruited to deliver a community-based health intervention using social media. African American and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) were recruited as peer leaders for either an HIV prevention or general health intervention using social networking technologies. Peer leaders attended 3 training sessions on how to use social media for health behaviour change. Baseline and post-training questionnaires were given to ensure that peer leaders were qualified in using social media to communicate health information. Repeated measures ANOVA models and χ2 tests assessed differences in peer leader knowledge and comfort using social networking technologies pre- and post-training. Post-training, peer leaders were significantly more comfortable using social media to discuss sexual positions. Almost all peer leaders reported being comfortable using social media. There were no significant pre- and post-training differences on other knowledge or comfort measures. Results suggest that peer leaders can be recruited to conduct health interventions using social networking technologies. The discussed training plan can be adapted to health domains to ensure that peer leaders are qualified to conduct health interventions using social media.

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