Characterizing HIV discussions and engagement on Twitter

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2021-11
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
Series
HEALTH AND TECHNOLOGY
Abstract
The novel settings provided by social media facilitate users to seek and share information on a wide array of subjects, including healthcare and wellness. Analyzing health-related opinions and discussions on these platforms complement traditional public health surveillance systems to support timely and effective interventions. This study aims to characterize the HIV-related conversations on Twitter by identifying the prevalent topics and the key events and actors involved in these discussions. Through Twitter API, we collected tweets containing the hashtag #HIV for a one-year period. After pre-processing the collected data, we conducted engagement analysis, temporal analysis, and topic modeling algorithm on the analytical sample (n = 122,807). Tweets by HIV/AIDS/LGBTQ activists and physicians received the highest level of engagement. An upsurge in tweet volume and engagement was observed during global and local events such as World Aids Day and HIV/AIDS awareness and testing days for trans-genders, blacks, women, and the aged population. Eight topics were identified that include “stigma”, “prevention”, “epidemic in the developing countries”, “World Aids Day”, “treatment”, “events”, “PrEP”, and “testing”. Social media discussions offer a nuanced understanding of public opinions, beliefs, and sentiments about numerous health-related issues. The current study reports various dimensions of HIV-related posts on Twitter. Based on the findings, public health agencies and pertinent entities need to proactively use Twitter and other social media by engaging the public through involving influencers. The undertaken methodological choices may be applied to further assess HIV discourse on other popular social media platforms.
Description
Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s).
Keywords
AIDS, Digital health, Engagement, HIV, Public health surveillance, Social media, Twitter
Other note
Citation
Malik , A , Antonino , A , Khan , M L & Nieminen , M 2021 , ' Characterizing HIV discussions and engagement on Twitter ' , HEALTH AND TECHNOLOGY , vol. 11 , no. 6 , pp. 1237-1245 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s12553-021-00577-z