In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV.
Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, Sean Young of the Center for Digital Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes in an October 29th article in the Cell Press journal Trends in Microbiologyof a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.
“We know that mining social media will have huge potential benefits for many areas of medicine in the future, but we’re still in the early stages of testing how powerful these technologies will be,” Young said.
Although privacy concerns about such uses of social media shouldn’t be ignored, Young says there is evidence that people have already begun to accept such uses of social media, even by corporations looking to boost profits.
“Since people are already getting used to the fact that corporations are doing this, we should at least support public health researchers in using these same methods to try and improve our health and well being,” he said. “We’re already seeing increased support from patients and public health departments.”
Source by : Science Daily News