Windy City Times (Chicago) (03.21.12) - Friday, April 06,
The Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at
Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital is studying text
messaging as a way to increase treatment adherence in HIV-
The "TxTxt Study" has enrolled more than 70 youths. "A
centralized computerized text message is sent to each of the
participants using a message of their own choosing like 'drink
your juice Shelby' to remind them to take their meds," said
principal researcher Dr. Robert Garafalo.
Garafalo, the director of adolescent HIV services at
Children's Memorial and associate professor at Northwestern
University's Feinberg School of Medicine, noted that his own
experience with youth - "their social reality and in some
cases addiction to text messaging" - inspired the study.
Eligible youths must "be on a prescribed regimen of treatment
and have their own cell phone," said Garafalo, who is still
seeking to recruit an additional 50 participants 12 months
into the 30-month study. The study targets vulnerable
populations - homeless and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
and questioning young people.
TxTxt builds upon the results of a National Institutes of
Health project that focused on a smaller group for a shorter
time. That study found the texts did boost the youths'
likelihood of compliance. "The pilot group found the text
messages annoying but very helpful," said Garafalo.
Originally a primary care physician, Garafalo found himself
drawn to working with adolescents and specializing in care for
the HIV-positive. He conceded, "Working with younger people
with HIV is no different than working with those who are
negative. They still talk about dating, school, acne. These
are normal adolescents."
For enrollment information, telephone 773-880-6984 or e-mail