People under the age of 30 account for the majority, or 40 percent, of new HIV infections in the United States. This age group is also more likely than adults to own a smartphone and use this device to download apps and access health information. Recognizing adolescents’ connection with mobile technology, a research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with colleagues at Emory University, has secured $18 million in funding over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to form the UNC/Emory Center for Innovative Technology or iTech.
“iTech will facilitate the execution of six research studies. Each study will use technology to address a barrier to the HIV care continuum,” said Lisa Hightow-Weidman, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine and principal investigator of the Behavior and Technology (BAT) Lab at UNC. “For youth at risk of becoming infected with HIV, we will develop apps that aim to increase HIV testing, and use of and adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV. For youth who test positive for the virus, we will develop electronic health interventions to engage them in care and improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy.”
Click here to learn more about iTech, one of three U19 applications funded by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to support the new Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN).