Are MSM willing to SMS for HIV prevention?
Text messaging is a potential HIV-prevention tool for men who have sex with men (MSM), specifically young MSM and MSM of color. To determine the willingness of MSM to receive text messages as part of an HIV-prevention intervention, we administered an online survey to MSM recruited from MySpace.com, which included questions about mobile phone ownership and willingness to participate in a future text message–based HIV research study. Of participants, 85% (n = 5,378) reported owning a mobile phone and 49% (n = 2,483) of mobile phone owners reported being willing to receive text messages in a future HIV research study. Black and Hispanic men were more willing than White non-Hispanic men to receive text messages. Men with a college degree were less willing to receive texts than men with a high school level of education, and men >22 years old were less likely to be willing to receive texts than those younger than 22 years of age. The authors' findings demonstrate that willingness to receive text messages as part of an HIV research study is moderate, and mirrors patterns of text message use in age and race. Variations in willingness should be taken into account when designing and implementing future interventions.