A Serious Video Game Targeting HIV Testing and Counseling: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

A Serious Video Game Targeting HIV Testing and Counseling: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Publication date: Feb 01, 2024

Adolescents are the age group that is least likely to know their HIV status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. A randomized controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the impact of the original video game intervention, PlayTest!, on behavioral antecedents for HIV testing and counseling (HTC). Participants (N = 287 adolescents) were recruited between 2018 and 2020 and were 48% female, aged 14-18 years (mean age = 15. 4 years), and 76% racial minorities. Participants were randomized 1:1 and assigned to either play PlayTest! or a set of control games, ∼one session per week for an hour per session over 4-6 weeks (gameplay) after school. The primary outcome measure was participants’ attitudes around HTC at 6 months, with intentions, knowledge, self-efficacy, and behaviors assessed as secondary outcomes. Two hundred and ninety-six participants were enrolled/randomized; nine were withdrawn due to incomplete parental consent forms, leaving 287 participants: 145 were randomized to PlayTest! and 142 to the control condition. Mixed between-within subjects ANOVAs assessed the impact of the study conditions on outcomes. Improvements were seen in the PlayTest! group in HTC attitudes (p < .001), intentions (p < .001), knowledge (p < .001), and self-efficacy (p = .002) at all time-points. At 6 months, for those who had access to HTC (N = 134; prior to COVID-19) and for those who did not have access to HTC (N = 261; during COVID-19), there were no differences in self-reported HTC between the two groups (p = .289 and p = .074, respectively). PlayTest! impacted important behavioral antecedents related to HTC and has the potential to broadly increase HTC rates in adolescents.

Concepts Keywords
18years Adolescents
Counseling Behavior change
Hiv Randomized controlled trial
Playtest Serious video game
Racial Technology intervention


Type Source Name
disease IDO intervention
disease VO time
disease MESH COVID-19

Original Article

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