New Game Hopes To Help Youth Avoid HIV

A new video game created by Yale School of Medicine researchers hopes to help "at-risk" youths learn about and avoid the risks associated with HIV. The game was developed as part of the Play2Prevent initiative at Yale, a collaboration and partnership between scientists, educators, video game designers and developers, and community-based organizations. The game development process is being spearheaded by Schell Games.

Dr. Lynn E. Fiellin, associate professor of medicine at Yale, says the goal is to develop educational materials and "targeted interventions" that produces risk reduction and prevention in youth and young adults.

"Games are powerful tools in helping people explore roles and risks before life makes them all-too-real and risky," says Fiellin. "The Play2Prevent initiative focused on helping its players meet the challenges at-risk youth must face head on."

Funded from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the HIV prevention game will be developed over the next 18 months and will be tested via a study with over 300 young participants in a New Haven, Connecticut after-school program. Researchers hope to help youth avoid risky behaviors associated with HIV acquisition, and establish the best way to use video games to produce positive health behaviors.

The game will be completed sometime in 2012 and is being targeted for low-end PC tablet devices. If the research proves that the game is an effective tool in fighting HIV, it plans to target other platforms and release the game worldwide.

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