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Preventing HIV/AIDS Through Data-Driven Play

September 10, 2019

A Women’s Health Research at Yale research project is designed to help young black women navigate the challenges of dating while remaining protected against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The researchers have now received new funding from the National Institutes of Health to translate the game, called One Night Stan, from a role-playing card game into a videogame intervention prototype designed to empower adolescent black girls to take charge of their health.

Led by Dr. Kimberly Hieftje, Deputy Director of Yale Center for Health & Learning Games and play2PREVENT Lab, and Director of the play4REAL Lab at Yale, the new project will build upon the success of the card game by providing skill-building opportunities to improve the ability of black adolescents to negotiate risks, including increasing their awareness of sexually transmitted infections, advocating for partners to get tested for STIs, and reducing sexual risk-taking behaviors.

Both the card game and its digital incarnation draw from the latest research on how games can deliver valuable health information and affect health behaviors.

In a pilot study of the original card game with 21 young black women, participants that played the social card game intervention, One Night Stan, reported improvements in self-efficacy and intentions related to HIV prevention. Additionally, participants reported high satisfaction and enjoyment with the intervention.

The new project will include a randomized controlled trial with 80 black adolescents to evaluate the effectiveness of the new videogame platform.

“As a multiplayer videogame, we believe One Night Stan will be a compelling context for adolescent girls who constantly interact and seek counsel from their peers,” Hieftje said.  “One Night Stan allows young women to see how certain choices could affect their lives, which provides women with the knowledge and empowerment to make good choices when confronted with real life situations.”

Submitted by Rick Harrison on September 11, 2019