Researchers have developed a smartphone app that can help HIV-infected men stay in their treatment course by answering questions that often arise in the minds of patients undergoing such treatment.
The app called Battery Health has an icon of a battery with a lightning bolt to disguise its purpose.
HIV-infected men who have sex with men often start on antiretroviral treatment but don’t stick with it because of the stigma of having the disease, lack of knowledge about its dangers, or the belief that there’s nothing they can do about it, said the app’s developer, epidemiologist Mark Dworkin of the University of Illinois, Chicago.
“This app was created to try and teach them things they may not know, motivate them to make behavioural change, and make them aware of behavioural skills they may lack,” Dworkin was quoted as saying.
Frequently asked questions such as what could happen if one wants to stop medicine for a while appears on the screen, and tapping one leads a virtual avatar to offer detailed answers.
Before making the app freely available, the researchers plan to run a clinical trial to assess whether it can help people improve their adherence to medication and blood tests.