1. Facebook intervention leads to increased HIV testing among high-risk men
Peer-led Facebook groups are an acceptable and effective tool for increasing home-based HIV testing among at-risk populations. HIV infection is a major health concern for men who have sex with men (MSM), especially among African Americans and Latinos who have high rates of incident cases and new diagnoses. Online social networking has grown exponentially in this population, suggesting that social media platforms could be used to relay HIV prevention messages. This is important because those who seek sex online may be at increased risk for HIV. Sixteen peer leaders were randomly assigned to deliver information about HIV (intervention, n = 57) or general health (control, n = 55) via closed Facebook groups to Los Angeles-based MSM, more than 85 percent of whom were African American or Latino. After accepting a request to join the group, participation was voluntary and all online interactions were monitored to assess participation and engagement. Throughout the trial, participants in either group could request a free, home-based HIV testing kit. Participation in messaging was high in both groups throughout the trial. After 12 weeks, more intervention participants had requested an HIV testing kit than control participants (44 percent vs 20 percent, respectively). In both groups, the median number of sexual partners decreased during the trial.
2. Task Force: Not enough evidence to recommend for or against screening for peripheral artery disease in asymptomatic adults
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against using the ankle-brachial index (ABI) as a screening test for peripheral artery disease (PAD) in asymptomatic adults. PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. In addition to morbidity directly caused by PAD, patients have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Screening asymptomatic patients could reduce patient morbidity and mortality by identifying patients who are at hidden risk for CVD. The ABI is the ratio of the ankle and brachial systolic blood pressure that has been used as a marker for PAD. In 2005, the Task Force recommended against using ABI as a screening test for PAD because there was little evidence that screening would improve outcomes any more than treatment based on standard CVD risk assessment. To inform the update, researchers assessed new evidence on the ability of the ABI to predict cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality independent of the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) in asymptomatic adults. They also assessed the benefits and harms of treating adults found to have PAD through screening. The researchers found insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for PAD and CVD risk assessment with ABI. They also found insufficient evidence to establish the benefits of treating screening-detected PAD in asymptomatic individuals.