Gaming features have recently been added to a mobile phone application to enhance the care HIV patients receive. According to a report published online by the journal AIDS and Behavior, individuals that used the Epic Allies app achieved viral suppression over 26 weeks.
“The app delivered daily health messages in a digestible form that was more fun than sitting in a class and more consistent than a clinic visit scheduled every three to six months,” said lead study author Lisa Hightow-Weidman. “Apps and digital tools are a bridge to care. They cannot replace a network of doctors and nurses and care management, but they can be a bridge to that real-world and inspire change.”
Rates of viral suppression and ART adherence increased for 146 patients throughout the study. At 26 weeks, viral suppression among the app users was at 62.9%, while viral suppression for non-app users was 73.5%. When utilizing the Epic Allies app, ended, viral suppression leveled out to about 64% for all research participants.
Two of the study’s authors were Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman and Dr. Kate Muessig, health behavior specialists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Furthermore, the research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.