In December 2011, find protocol Facebook had more than 800 million active users, with 50% of them logging on every day. More than 350 million Facebook users access the site through mobile telephones,
which further increases the immediacy of communication . On average, each user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. Microblog systems, such as Twitter, also provide a vehicle for sharing information and advice, with the potential for influencing patient concordance and affecting behaviour change . Those living with any chronic disease are likely to use blogging and online health discussions as a source of information . Social networking offers a powerful tool for promoting healthcare, giving individuals the ability to share information and learn from the experiences of others regarding investigation and treatment, as well as for research networking and fundraising . The HIV community is particularly well served by web-based resources. The MyHIV website (www.myhiv.org.uk) is a Terrence Higgins Trust-managed
find more interactive website that has been developed by and for people living with HIV, and aims to provide users with education and self-management strategies. Importantly, it uses social network-based technologies as a means of spreading positive health behaviours through community forums, which are moderated in order to guard against the
sharing of misinformation. Importantly, this ′grassroots type′ site offers Hydroxychloroquine concentration a medium for those patients who, whether as a result of geographical isolation or because of personal circumstances or choice, do not wish to engage exclusively with clinic-based services. Sites such as MyHIV reflect the huge shift that has occurred in recent years to living with HIV; the thinking today is now around keeping people as well as possible so that HIV infection is considered simply as a chronic long-term condition. Such sites, and it is inevitable that the options will expand, would offer a perfect dissemination mechanism for a downloadable self-assessment tool. There is an imperative need for improvement in the current screening approaches for ′lifestyle diseases′ among people living with HIV. Given the commonality of risk factors for CVD, diabetes, renal disease and fracture, there is an opportunity for the development of a user-friendly tool that predicts the level of risk of developing these major comorbid diseases in HIV-positive patients. Such a tool would enable healthcare professionals to determine, or individuals to self-identify, their broad level of risk and promote self-help. It would also enable resources to be targeted more effectively, with the most intensive screening and management programmes being targeted to those most at risk of chronic disease.