Mobile Projects at the International AIDS Conference: A Report from Guest Blogger Kate Jongbloed

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Aug 14, 2008

 Technology-based interventions for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS took a small but important place on the agenda at the recent 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, reports attendee Kate Jongbloed who runs an insightful blog on development issues.  She reports for MobileActive from Mexico.

In a session entitled, “Reaching Millions: Youth, AIDS and the Digital Age,” a number of private and non-profit organizations presented their internet and mobile phone based approaches to the fight against AIDS.  A full audio and video version of the panel can be found here.

Voxiva: TRACNet and VIDA@NET

Paul Meyer, the founder of Voxiva mobile-centric information solutions, took some time to highlight his company’s approach to HIV/AIDS.  In 2004, when Rwanda scaled up its HIV/AIDS treatment plan, Voxiva created TRACNet for use by the country’s Ministry of Health.  In order to get more than 100,000 HIV infected people onto antiretroviral drugs, real-time monitoring by health workers with mobile phone access made it possible to track adherence to treatment regimens, drug resistance, as well as ARV drug and lab supplies around the country.

In Mexico, a new partnership of Voxiva with Instituto Carso Salud and TelCel called VIDA@NET provides a mobile-phone based service for people with HIV on antiretroviral treatment.  After registering for the system, users receive twice-weekly tips on issues such as nutrition, sexuality, and emotional health.  They can also sign up to receive daily dose and medical appointment reminders.  The system also includes a personal data dashboard with information on the user’s adherence, CD4-positive cell count, viral load, hemoglobin, albumin, and weight.  Another VIDA@NET component allows family, friends and health practitioners to access the patient’s personal data to better support them in their treatment.   

LoveLife: Make Your Move

“Mymsta is the world’s first cell-based social network dedicated to youth empowerment and HIV prevention,” said Trina DasGupta from LoveLife. The mobile social network is a response to the fact that almost 75 percent of South African youth have access to mobile phones, while only 6 percent have similar access to the internet.  The low-bandwidth system makes Mymsta available to a wider audience.  At the moment, Mymsta Mymsta has 5661 registered users, 500,000 pages of activities, and receives 250,000 calls per month.

Most South African youth know about condoms, but they are not acting on this knowledge. LoveLife aregues that this is often a result of lack of income or opportunity.  Mymsta is seeking to adress this in some concrete ways.  For example, rather than asking about favorite activities or pets, Mymsta’s profile pages ask users about their goals and talents.  Mymsta’s Eye on Da Prize database provides information on volunteer, scholarship and job opportunities and the Dream Calculator breaks down milestones to financial goals.  Mymsta also includes components that tackle sexuality and safe sex head on.  When users join, one of their first “friends” is Miss B, a sexual health counselor. Users can gain points towards prizes by reading articles on sexual health and taking a quiz.

Mymsta’s emphasis is on youth shaping their own future – one without AIDS. 


If you were in Mexico at the AIDS conference and want to chime in on how mobiles can help combat AIDS and HIV infections, or have thoughts on LoveLife and Voxiva's projects, please leave a comment below!

Photo Courtes: Learning About Living/One World, Nigeria

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br> <b><i><blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options