Guy2Guy (G2G) is the first comprehensive HIV prevention program developed for sexual minority males as young as 14 years old and is delivered nationally via text messaging. Here, we report the results of the pilot randomized control trial.
G2G was tested against an attention-matched “healthy lifestyle” control (eg, self-esteem). Both programs lasted 5 weeks and delivered 5 to 10 text messages daily. A 1-week booster was delivered 6 weeks subsequently. Participants were cisgender males ages 14 to 18 years old who were gay, bisexual, and/or queer and had an unlimited text messaging plan. Youth were recruited across the United States via Facebook and enrolled by telephone from October 2014 to April 2015. Ninety-day postintervention outcomes were condomless sex acts (CSA) and abstinence and, secondarily, HIV testing. We also examined these outcomes at intervention end and stratified them by sexual experience.
At 90 days postintervention, there were no significant differences in CSAs or abstinence noted. Among participants who were sexually active at baseline, intervention participants were significantly more likely to report getting an HIV test (adjusted odds ratio = 3.42, P = .001). They were also less likely than control youth to be abstinent (adjusted odds ratio = 0.48, P = .05). CSAs were significantly lower for those in the intervention versus control at intervention end (incident rate ratio = 0.39, P = .04), although significance was lost once age was added to the analysis (incident rate ratio = 0.58, P = .26).
G2G appears promising in increasing adolescent HIV testing rates. Sex-positive intervention messages appear to have increased the participants’ comfort with having sex (ie, less abstinence) while not increasing their potential for HIV transmission (ie, more CSAs). Additional content or features may be needed to invigorate condom use.