How could a smartphone app improve health outcomes for HIV-positive MSM?

Jaz Hudson1 and Michelle Croston2
1Student Nurse; 2Senior Lecturer, Advance Nurse Practitioner, Manchester Metropolitan University

Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be experienced as traumatic and may be associated with depression and/or anxiety [1,2]. Additionally, there is evidence that a considerable number of people living with HIV have already experienced trauma prior to their HIV diagnosis [3]. Therefore, pre-existing mental health issues may be exacerbated by the prospect, and reality, of living with a lifelong chronic condition where stigma and discrimination are significant issues. The connection between HIV and poor mental health is well documented within the literature and one of the potential reasons that has been identified for this is the internal and external stigma faced by HIV-positive individuals [4–6]. HIV-related stigma is identified as a key factor associated with reduced adherence to HIV medications [7], reduced levels of health literacy [8,9], poor health outcomes and quality of life issues for people living with HIV. It is widely acknowledged that HIV is, historically, a challenging area to work in [10]; however, caring for people living with HIV has changed significantly over the last 20 years as a result of effective antiretroviral therapy. Encouraging patients to self-manage their condition by improving health literacy and offering care and support to promote positive mental, emotional and cognitive well-being has been identified within two of the 12 standards of care for people living with HIV [11]. This article discusses the development and thinking behind a smartphone application (app), called Positive Thinking that aims to promote improved health outcomes, such as medication adherence, through the use of technology-based education and to support newly diagnosed men who have sex with men (MSM). Read more…