Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in emergency departments and other healthcare facilities, Ian David Aronson and collaborators asserted that many patients are never offered testing, and those that are often decline. The researchers conducted a study on a series of technology-based interventions and concluded that not only is the content of the intervention important, the manner in which it is delivered to specific patients is also crucial.

Investigators used data from 285 emergency department patients in New York City who had declined an offered test. The study’s intervention included different videos, featuring either an onscreen physician or an onscreen community member, which were presented in different configurations. Some participants were able to select a video, others were assigned to watch a specific video, and others viewed text presented in bullet points. The researchers assessed which intervention, and configurations had the potential to “increase self-efficacy to test for HIV.”

According to the author’s report, participants in the study demonstrated significant differences in self-efficacy depending on their history of previous HIV tests, whether they selected or were assigned an intervention video, and which intervention video they watched. Patients who had never been tested demonstrated markedly lower pre-test self-efficacy compared to those who had at least one prior test. Among the previously untested, the greatest increases in self-efficacy were observed in participants who were enabled to select a video or who viewed the onscreen physician intervention video.

The significant differences between participants’ self-efficacy informed the authors’ conclusion that an interventions content and method of delivery must be considered to drive a meaningful increase in HIV testing in emergency departments. In their opinion, “these findings may inform more effective technology-based behavioral health interventions.”

Source: International Journal of Health Promotion and Education