Recommendations for the development of a mobile HIV prevention intervention for men who have sex with men and hijras in mumbai: Qualitative study

Shruta Rawat, J. Michael Wilkerson, Sylvia M. Lawler, Pallav Patankar, B. R. Simon Rosser, Kanjani Shukla, Seyram Butame, Maria L. Ekstrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: As Internet and mobile phone use expands in India, there is an opportunity to develop mobile health (mHealth) interventions for marginalized populations, including men who have sex with men (MSM) and hijras (transgender women), hesitant to access traditional health care systems. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if an mHealth intervention was acceptable to MSM and hijras living in Mumbai, and if so, what features would be useful in targeting the prevention of HIV acquisition and to increase the quality of life among persons living with HIV/AIDS. Methods: Data from 4 focus groups with MSM and interviews with 4 hijras, 10 health service providers, and 8 mHealth developers were thematically analyzed. Results: Once the need for an mHealth intervention was confirmed, comments about features were organized into 3 themes: content, interface, and retention. Content subthemes included providing sex education for younger community members, providing information about STIs, and providing information and social support for persons living with HIV. Interface subthemes included presenting content using pictures; using videos to present stories of role models; using push notifications for testing, appointment, and medication reminders; using geolocation to link to just-in-time services; and using telemedicine to increase access to health service providers and community services. The 5 retention subthemes included keeping it fun, using gaming mechanics, developing content in regional languages, protecting confidentiality, and linking to social networking apps. Conclusions: These findings may help inform mHealth development in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere46
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Gays
  • Health promotion
  • Health seeking
  • Internet
  • Lesbians

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