Play a sedentary video game and live a healthier life? That’s the hope of Yale researchers who are joining the booming health games industry with an iPad application designed to help minority teens learn about HIV prevention strategies.
As part of Yale’s Play2Prevent initiative, a group from the School of Medicine conducted focus groups with New Haven teens to gain an understanding common factors and behaviors that affect HIV risk. The findings are guiding the design and content of a new iPad game titled PlayForward: Elm City Stories, which aims to promote better decisions among minority youth. The researchers will conduct a study on the game’s impact HIV transmission rates starting later this year.
“The overall goal is to help kids practice skills in the game that will decrease their engagement in behaviors that put them at risk for HIV,” said brief author Lynn Fiellin MED ’96, associate professor of medicine and director of Play2Prevent. “The idea is to build an evidence-based HIV intervention. The game has to be fun and engaging, but it has to accomplish something.”
The game involves creating an avatar who goes through a virtual life and makes decisions revolving around risk behaviors, including unprotected sex and drug and alcohol abuse. The player will be able to see how their choices and actions influence later situations and rewind to play out how making another decision could produce a different outcome. Researchers will study the impact of the game among New Haven teens in an 18-24 month clinical trial starting later this year.
Via Josué Cardona