Twitter used to track HIV infections - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Twitter used to track HIV infections

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Researchers at UCLA say using Twitter may be able to help doctors track HIV and drug activity.

Tweets posted between May and December 2012 were analyzed by researchers at UCLA. They were searched for words and phrases associated with risky sexual and drug activity. The tweets were then plotted on a map to see if it originated from an area with high HIV prevalence.

Researchers found an association between tweets containing risky behavior and counties with the highest HIV cases.

They hope to be able to use this information to predict where HIV cases may occur, and set up prevention efforts in those areas.

Researchers do admit a weakness in their study, that the most recent HIV geographic information they have is from 2009. They'll need better estimates of HIV prevalent areas in order to accurately predict future outbreaks.
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