How Tweets Can Predict and Prevent HIV Outbreaks

How Tweets Can Predict and Prevent HIV Outbreaks
Innovation

New study finds direct link between HIV outbreaks and tweets with "risky" phrases.

Daniela Walker
  • 7 march 2014

Researchers at UCLA created an algorithm that enabled them to predict HIV breakouts based on people’s Twitter activity.

Published in the journal Preventive Medicine, the study collected 550 million tweets between May and December 2012, using an algorithm to pick out words that would suggest drug use or risky behaviors, such as  “sex” or “get high.” These tweets were then plotted on a map and compared to incidences of HIV-related cases. They found a high proportion of these tweets had incidences in areas with reported HIV activity.

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