Tracking tweets may help predict HIV outbreaks

KUSA - Doctors say Twitter could help them track HIV and drug activity.

Researchers at UCLA analyzed tweets posted between May and December 2012.

They searched for phrases associated with risky sexual and drug activity, then plotted the tweet on a map to see if it originated from an area with a high HIV history.

They found an association between risky tweets and counties with the highest HIV cases.

They hope to use the information to predict where HIV cases may occur and set up prevention efforts in those areas.

The researchers say the biggest weakness in their study is the most recent HIV geographic information they have is from 2009. They need better estimates of HIV prevalent areas in order to accurately predict future outbreaks.


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