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Social Media and HIV/AIDS: Implications for Social Work Education

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Social work educators and practitioners continue to grapple with the strengths and challenges that access to social media provides. This paper presents the use of a range of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Weibo in HIV/AIDS prevention and education with hard to reach populations in diverse settings. Lessons learned in the field are applied to areas in social work education with a particular emphasis on enhancing privacy and confidentiality through the use of firewalls and privacy settings on social media and content development with an emphasis on valuing cultural capital of social media users, respecting fellow users and recognizing the utility of social media in conducting research and disseminating research. The role of the professional in guiding and monitoring content and bridging the digital divide for those hard to reach populations are discussed.
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Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Social media; social work education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Health and Community Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, United States

Publication date: April 2, 2016

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