By Charlotte Bumstead
According to a study published earlier this week in The Toronto Star, a simple text message asking “How are you?” shows positive results in helping to fight HIV. There were 538 Kenyan patients selected at random to participate in the study and researchers discovered, “the patients getting the weekly check-in text messages were more likely to have an undetectable level of the human immunodeficiency virus a year after starting their treatments.” The study is among the first to indicate how cell phones can be beneficial in improving health conditions. Similar results could be evident much beyond Kenya.
Although the text message program has not yet reached Canada, it is easy for Zoomers to take the first step on their own. The idea is to use the text message to regularly check-in on the receiver, whether he or she may be a patient, a senior living at home or simply a friend or family member who is taking medication. The point of the text message is not to act solely as a reminder for taking meds, but as a support line, where the person can respond with, “I’m fine,” or request help if necessary.
Researchers say further studies will be taking place to refine the idea. But it is an example of how the act of text messaging is becoming more practical for Zoomers. It is quick, efficient, and suggests improvements for your health. If nothing else, the check-in plan could at least be helpful in putting some minds at ease.