Yale University's Play2Prevent lab is using a grant from the Women’s Health Research at the Yale Pilot Program to create a game that teaches about effective ways to reduce HIV infections among young African American women. The team will spend this year working with groups of black teens and 20-year-olds to design a game that will be "relevant, entertaining and a model for future public health projects."
“This is a really new field,” said Kimberly Hieftje, a member of the Play2Prevent team who also holds a PhD in health behavior. “There’s not a lot out there. We’re making this up as we go. We’re learning what works and what doesn’t.”
According to data the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, teens and young adults have higher rates of new HIV infections than older age groups. In the U.S., people ages 13-29 represented 39 percent of all new infections in 2009; African American women were found to have a higher risk than their white peers. In Connecticut, people under the age of 30 have become increasingly more likely to be diagnosed with HIV. In 2002, they accounted for just 13 percent of new infections. In 2012, that age group represented roughly 30 percent. That same year, African Americans represented just over 40 percent of newly diagnosed HIV patients in all age groups.
This will be the lab’s second game aimed at HIV prevention. The first, called PlayForward: Elm City Stories, helps teenagers make better decisions about sexual activity to avoid unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
The New Haven Register has a lot more on this project and the lab's previous game here.