A program to encourage HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) apparently succeeded by engaging them on gay-focused social media sites, Reuters Health reports. Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers created public profiles, situating them to target different geographic locations, on Adam4Adam, BlackGayChat, Craigslist and Gay.com.

Health educators used the profiles to post about the importance of HIV testing and indicated that they were available to provide information through instant messaging about testing services.

On Craigslist in particular, the health educator posted about HIV testing periodically between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, during 2013 and 2014.

The researchers offered men on the sites $10 to complete an assessment, which looked at their substance use, age, race, sexual orientation, HIV status and their HIV testing history during the previous 12 months.

The study included more than 1,000 participants, who were 40 years old on average. About 35 percent of both those who received the intervention encouraging testing and those in the control group said they had been tested for HIV during the previous year. After the intervention, 64 percent of those who received it said they had been tested during the previous 12 months, compared with 40 percent of the control group.

To read the Reuters Health article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.