Architecture and Hosting of an AIDS Consumer Oriented Website in the Spanish Language. Evaluation of the First Year of Online Aids Advice by a Medical Expert
Fundación Hospital de Alcorcón (Madrid, Spain)
Isabel Fernández Lantigua
José Luis de la Serna
Topic: Patient portals
Type: Poster presentation
Slides: Not Available
Last modified: March 29, 2006
Background: Health-related Internet use is broadening the spectrum of behaviours and relationships between patients, health care professionals and other agents of the medical milieu. Access to Internet resources have shown to have an important impact on HIV/AIDS. For the past seven years we have been running a health website based on a general information newspaper . A specific site for AIDS hosted in the general health website  was launched in 2002.
Aims and Methods: Besides other educational and news resources, the AIDS website offers advice and answers to questions and queries about AIDS made anonymously to an infectious disease expert. We described the design and structure of this website and its relationships with the rest of the online newspaper and its classic version in paper. We also performed a descriptive study and a temporal analysis of the questions received in the first 12 months of activity.
Results: after four years of running the general health website , it was decided to expand its scope by the progressive opening of new online areas covering for specific diseases processes. The AIDS website  was launched on November 2002; its structure consisted of a number of sections covering: news about the disease, interactive-graphic educational materials, consumer oriented monographs on different aspects of HIV infection, chats with different leaders of opinion on AIDS and an "ask the expert" section where users could ask any doubts or queries via e-mail. During the first 12 months a total of 899 questions were received with a marked linear growth pattern. Questions originated in Spain in 68% of cases, 32% came from Latin America (Caribbean, Central and South America) and 80% of senders were of the male sex. The highest numbers of questions arose just after the weekend (37% on Mondays and Tuesdays). Risk factors of contracting HIV infection were the most frequent concern (69%) followed by window period (12.6%), tests results (5.9%), symptoms (4.7%), diagnosis (2.7%) and treatment (2.2%). One in three questions (34%) about risk factors concerned oral sex, 26.7% risk related to other routes like saliva or skin contact, 12.3% about unprotected sex whereas 13.5% concerned risk of contracting HIV after sex with protection.
Conclusions: Being hosted in a online newspaper  has achieved excellent Internet traffic results for our AIDS site with a mean of 4 million accesses and 400.000 single users per month. A general information media online is a perfect vehicle for this type of "asks the expert" services. For a Spanish-based web it is surprising the high number of users from Latin America. In spite of the high level of media exposure of AIDS/HIV, many of the questions addressed were very basic. Aspects like anonymity, free access and immediacy of the answers are key factors for the success of this type of service.