July/August #136 : WikiHIV - by Nicole Joseph

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The Killing Fields


Vote of Confidence

Getting Crystal Clear

Mother Lode

High Definition

Control Issues

Going Green

The Mirror Has Two Chins

Trans America

Gimme Some Skin

Pole Position

RED Bull?

Uniform Care

Bush's Test Results

Achy Breaky HAART


A Ryan White Scorecard

Hot Dates-July/August 2007

The Art of Activism

Bringing Sexy Back

Trigger Happy

Culture Wars

Oui Are the World

Big Gulp

Editor's Letter-July/August 2007

Catch of the Month-July/August 2007

Mailbox-July/August 2007

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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July / August 2007


by Nicole Joseph

Can you trust Wikipedia for AIDS info?

More than 60 percent of people in a Cisco Systems study this year said they often used the Internet to diagnose and manage health conditions. And they aren’t looking to YouTube, either. Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that’s one part reference work and another part chain letter, is the hot destination for students, scholars and patients alike.

Launched in 2001, Wikipedia contends that sharing information produces high-quality content. Anyone can edit, write or challenge the nearly 1.8 million articles contained on the site. Some schoolteachers have banned its use as a primary-info source; still, the social networking site Facebook.com has a group called “Wikipedia is helping me get through med school,” which has more than 4,000 members.  

How does Wikipedia’s AIDS info stack up? It’s clear and well sourced. In discussion rooms, users decide which articles should require a log-in for those who wish to edit. The “HIV” page is open to non-registered users; the “AIDS” page is protected. A Wikipedia study found that pages with the most user contributions have the highest quality. The “HIV” page had a comparatively high 1,184 edits last year. “AIDS” had 2,762—more than “HPV” (12), “breast cancer” (946) and “leukemia” (578) combined.

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