Piloting the use of artificial intelligence to enhance HIV prevention interventions for youth experiencing homelessness

Eric Rice, Amanda Yoshioka-Maxwell, Robin Petering, Laura Onasch-Vera, Jaih Craddock, Milind Tambe, Amulya Yadav, Bryan Wilder, Darlene Woo, Hailey Winetrobe, Nicole Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: Youth experiencing homelessness are at risk for HIV and need interventions to prevent risky sex behaviors. We tested the feasibility of using artificial intelligence (AI) to select peer change agents (PCAs) to deliver HIV prevention messages among youth experiencing homelessness. Method: We used a pretest– posttest quasi-experimental design. In the AI condition (n = 62), 11 PCAs were selected via AI algorithm; in the popularity comparison (n = 55), 11 PCAs were selected 6 months later based on maximum degree centrality (most ties to others in the net-work). All PCAs were trained to promote HIV testing and condom use among their peers. Participants were clients at a drop-in center in Los Angeles, CA. HIV testing and condom use were assessed via a self-administered, computer-based survey at baseline (n = 117), 1 month (n = 86, 74%), and 3 months (n = 70, 60%). Results: At 3 months, rates of HIV testing increased among participants in the AI condition relative to the comparison group (18.8% vs. 8.1%), as did condom use during anal sex (12.1% vs. 3.3%) and vaginal sex (29.2% vs. 23.7%). Conclusions: AI-enhanced PCA intervention is a feasible method for engaging youth experiencing homelessness in HIV prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-573
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the Society for Social Work and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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