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Novel Facebook Application Aims to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Date:10/12/2009

Users can share interactive information on HPV anonymously

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Facebook application has been launched to help educate, motivate and mobilize people to prevent the spread of Humanpapilloma Virus (HPV). "Fact Check: HPV" (www.hpvfactcheck.org) allows users to take an interactive, educational quiz about HPV, find additional resources, and commit to take action, while even allowing concerned friends to anonymously share the application with peers.

The application was developed by Partnership for Prevention and the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies with input from the School of Public Health. The project was funded by the Fund to Prevent Cervical Cancer.

"Use of social networking sites has skyrocketed in the last few years, becoming an excellent channel to promote healthy behaviors," said Robert J. Gould PhD, president of Partnership for Prevention. "Fact Check: HPV will harness the power of social media to increase awareness of this common sexually transmitted disease (STD)."

Use of social networking sites has quadrupled over the last four years from 8 percent in 2005 to over 35 percent in 2008. Over 75% of young adults, age 18-24, have a profile page, the vast majority of whom check it at least weekly.

"Young adults trust information recommended by friends, however, friends are often reticent to share information about stigmatized illnesses such as STDs, mental illnesses, or substance abuse. This project tests a novel strategy that spreads sensitive information through friendship networks, while still retaining anonymity." said Derek L. Hansen, PhD, Assistant Professor at University of Maryland's College of Information Studies. "It also helps us learn how the application spreads through the network and identify misperceptions about HPV based on quiz results."

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SOURCE Partnership for Prevention
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