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Health Informatics J. 2018 Apr 1:1460458218766573. doi: 10.1177/1460458218766573. [Epub ahead of print]

Capturing public interest toward new tools for controlling human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection exploiting data from Google Trends.

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Sheba Medical Center, Israel; Tel Aviv University, Israel.
University of Genoa, Italy.
University of Verona, Italy.
Tel Aviv University, Israel.


Human immunodeficiency virus vaccination and pre-exposure prophylaxis represent two different emerging preventive tools. Google Trends was used to assess the public interest toward these tools in terms of digital activities. Worldwide web searches concerning the human immunodeficiency virus vaccine represented 0.34 percent, 0.03 percent, and 46.97 percent of human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome treatment-related Google Trends queries, respectively. Concerning temporal trends, digital activities were shown to increase from 0 percent as of 1 January 2004 percent to 46 percent as of 8 October 2017 with two spikes observed in May and July 2012, coinciding with the US Food and Drug Administration approval. Bursts in search number and volume were recorded as human immunodeficiency virus vaccine trials emerged. This search topic has decreased in the past decade in parallel to the increase in Truvada-related topics. Concentrated searches were noticed among African countries with high human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome prevalence. Stakeholders should take advantage of public interest especially in preventive medicine in high disease burden countries.


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome; Google Trends; Truvada; human immunodeficiency virus; vaccination; web search


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