Li L, Lin C, Feng N, et al. (2019). Using social media to enhance provider network for HIV and harm reduction service integration in Vietnam. AIDS and Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02542-4
Researchers recruited 72 methadone maintenance therapy (MMT; n=28) and antiretroviral therapy (ART; n=44) providers from 4 provinces in Vietnam to participate in private interdisciplinary Facebook groups. Researchers were interested in exploring how Facebook could facilitate integration of HIV and substance use care for people with HIV who inject drugs. Participants were assigned to 1 of 4 province-specific Facebook groups of about 20 participants each that were overseen by 16 group administrators. Participants created a set of rules for the Facebook groups at an initial in-person meeting. Researchers recorded activity within the Facebook groups for 1 year, including post content and engagement (e.g., comments, likes). There were 1,496 posts made to the Facebook groups with 8,466 comments and 13,362 reactions. MMT providers made 463 (31%) posts and ART providers made 739 (49%) posts. Most participants (93%) posted at least once. Participants made an average of 90.1 comments each. The most discussed topics were referral (11%), policy/regulation (9%), psychological counseling (8%), MMT adherence (7%), and group activities (7%). ART providers commented on 56% of posts made by MMT providers, commonly commenting on posts related to peer support, side effects, and policy/regulation. MMT providers commented on 38% of posts made by ART providers, commonly commenting on posts related to adherence, comorbidity, and patient support. Researchers conclude that private Facebook groups have the potential to facilitate communication and collaboration between providers and may promote care integration for people with HIV who inject drugs.