InvestiDate: Development and Evaluation of a Multiplayer Videogame Focused on Healthy Relationships and HIV/STI Prevention for Black Teen Girls
InvestiDate is a social game that encourages players to engage in open discussions around sexual health and decision making.
With funding from the NIH/NICHD and In partnership with Dr. Ijeoma Opara and the SASH Lab at Yale, our team created InvestiDate, a sex-positive, web-based multiplayer videogame designed to help Black teen girls make informed choices when it comes to evaluating and selecting potential romantic partners. As they date and their relationships become more serious within the game, players practice talking to their partners, friends, and doctor about HIV/STI testing, condom use, and potential risk factors that are often associated with increased risk of HIV/STI infection. As a multiplayer game, the game provides a platform for teens to discuss these topics within the context of dating as a Black teen girl. Based on prior development and evaluation work funded by the Women’s Health Research at Yale, our national focus groups with Black teen girls, and input from our teen advisory group of seven Black teen girls, the game includes participants’ personal experiences navigating discrimination, colorism, racism, and negative sexual stereotypes, which can negatively impact risk-taking behaviors, knowledge of HIV/STI status, HIV/STI care, and other needed services.
We are currently conducting a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the acceptability and feasibility of the game while also collecting preliminary efficacy data with a four-month follow up.
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Weser VU, Opara I, Sands BE, Fernandes C-SF, Hieftje KD. How Black Teen Girls Navigate Social Media to Form Romantic Relationships. Social Media + Society. July 2021. doi:10.1177/20563051211033823
Opara I, Weser V, Sands B, Fernandes C-SF, Hussett-Richardson S, Hieftje K. Feeling Invisible and Unheard: A Qualitative Exploration of Gendered-Racist Stereotypes Influence on Sexual Decision Making and Mistreatment of Black Teen Girls. Youth & Society. 2022;54(4):527-546. doi:10.1177/0044118X221075051