Over 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV/AIDS1. African American adolescents (AAAs) represented 57% of HIV/AIDS cases among 13- to 24-year olds3. In addition, almost 60% of adolescents with HIV do not know they are infected3. Testing for HIV may result in earlier diagnosis and reduced likelihood of transmission4. In this study, our team proposes to complete our Phase 1 SAAFE game, an age, gender, and culturally- relevant, mobile-based HIV/AIDS education dating simulation. The 24-month study includes focus group, paper mockup, mobile application design, development and pilot testing of the SAAFE game at two sites in the District of Columbia and Alabama. Our team includes expertise in developmental psychology and developmental science, sexual health, maternal and child health, public policy, community based participatory research, quantitative and qualitative methodology, and mobile development. The long-term product goal is to develop the SAAFE product to be user-friendly, culturally-relevant, cross- platform, and evidence-based mobile game available to HIV prevention interventions for adolescents to educate them in positive sexual health beliefs and practices. If successful, the study will have significant impact in informing health care practitioners on leveraging theory-driven, evidence-based gaming approach for improving health outcomes in HIV and other STIs prevention intervention.
SAAFE is a theory-driven, evidence-based, and culturally-relevant mobile game with innovative game features offers a cost-effective approach to promoting adoption of healthy sexual behaviors in adolescents. It is designed to (1) improve adolescents' perceptions of sexual health risks; (2) increase adolescents' motivation to adopt specific protective factors (namely, use a condom, practice abstinence, partner with others who have more positive sexual and reproductive health practices, and get testing for STIs and HIV); and (3) increase adolescents' adoption of specific protective sexual health practices.