“Texting in Bed”: Implications for Texting-based Sexual Health Promotion with Black and Latino YMSM

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Date(s) - Jul 5, 2012
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

St. Annes Maternity- Conference Room


Download PowerPoint Presentation here:  Texting Study PowerPoint Presentation (889)

“Texting in Bed”: Implications for Texting-based Sexual Health Promotion with Black and Latino YMSM from CHIPTS, UCLA on Vimeo.

The Los Angeles HIV Research & Community Colloquia Series

Hosted by UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) and the Los Angeles County HIV Prevention Planning Committee (PPC), invites you to attend:


Texting in Bed”:  Implications for Texting-based Sexual Health Promotion with Black and Latino YMSM


Thursday, July 5, 2012

12:00 -1:00PM


St.  Annes Maternity

Conference Room

155 N. Occidental Blvd

Los Angeles, CA  90026


Dr. Matt G. Mutchler

Associate Professor, Sociology

Director, Urban Community Research Center

California State University, Dominguez Hills


Dr. Sheba M. George
Assistant Professor
Center for Biomedical Informatics
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science



Young adults report frequent use of texting to communicate with their friends; yet, relatively little research has explored the use of text messaging as a tool for sexual health promotion, particularly among Black and Latino young men who have sex with men (YMSM). It is important to understand how the development of new technologies such as text messaging affects communication about sexual health topics especially since Black and Latino YMSM are at the forefront of the U.S. HIV epidemic, and sexual communication regarding condom use is related to sexual risk behaviors among YMSM.  Therefore, we examined how Black and Latino YMSM use texting to communicate about sexual health topics such as sex, HIV, relationships, and social support.   We report on the results of 10 semi-structured focus groups (5 Latino, 4 Black, 1 mixed) lasting approximately 2 hours, each including a brief survey conducted with a total of 50 Black and Latino YMSM between the ages of 18-24.  We also investigated the acceptability of text messaging for sexual communication among the participants. Using Nvivo software and a grounded theory method of analysis, we found that Black and Latino YMSM view such communication as personal extensions of their selves, carefully monitoring and managing the boundaries around who, what, when, and how they send and receive messages, especially those pertaining to sexual health topics.  We identified four main themes, namely their texting behaviors, texting preferences, perceptions of advantages and disadvantages of texting, and what they consider as texting etiquette. We also solicited their suggestions on how to craft text messages for health promotion.


We consider implications of these findings for further research specifically for the development of texting-based sexual health promotion interventions, particularly in conjunction with other existing HIV prevention interventions. We recommend identifying new ways to encourage social support and avoidance of risk behavior, including personalizing messages and integrating with other forms of communication such as social networking sites and face-to-face programs. Ensuring confidentiality and complying with the texting etiquettes of the target subpopulations will also help  improve the acceptability and feasibility of texting-based interventions.




Dr. Matt G. Mutchler is an Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and a Community-Based Researcher at AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).  He is also the Director of the Urban Community Research Center at CSUDH.  He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His primary research interests include medical sociology, community studies, sexualities, gender, AIDS/health, social psychology, social movements, and gay and lesbian studies.  Dr. Mutchler has over 20 years of research experience investigating the social and cultural contexts of HIV prevention and treatment issues.  Recent work includes examinations of how young gay men produce safer sex cultures, sex-drug use, diffusion of ‘gay-boy’ talk among diverse racial/ethnic populations.   Dr. Mutchler is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on six active studies including projects that examine sexual health communication between young gay men and their best friends, use of text messaging for sexual health promotion among Black and Latino young gay men, sex-drug use among young gay men of color, and evaluating treatment education and adherence among Blacks living with HIV/AIDS.  He is currently the PI of one newly funded NIH grant that examines how young Black men who have sex with men talk about sexual health issues with their friends in Los Angeles, CA and in Birmingham, AL; and he is Co-PI of two other NIH funded studies.  He collaborates on research projects focused on sexual health promotion and HIV testing/treatment issues among young gay and bisexual men, HIV treatment and services, HIV/AIDS health policy, and psychosocial issues among people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.


Dr. Sheba M. George was awarded her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. Since completing her doctorate, Dr. George has consulted on research projects for Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research, and completed a NIMH AIDS Research Training postdoctoral fellowship in the Sociology Department at UCLA. She is the published author of several peer-reviewed articles and two books by the University of California Press and. Her sole-authored book, entitled When Women Come First: Gender and Class in Transnational Migration (University of California Press, 2005), has been translated into Japanese (2011). In it, she examines the immigration, settlement and changes in gender relations of Indian nurses, their families and communities. Her current research focuses on the intersections of technology and health – in terms of how patients, providers and community health care organizations in underserved areas with “the digital divide” perceive and experience new technologies such as telemedicine, cell phone-based texting interventions and clinical decision support systems.