Are Text Messages a Feasible and Acceptable Way to Reach Female Entertainment Workers in Cambodia with Health Messages? A Cross-Sectional Phone Survey.

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Brody C, Dhaliwal S, Tuot S, Johnson M, Pal K, Yi S,

Brody C, Dhaliwal S, Tuot S, Johnson M, Pal K, Yi S, (click to view)

Brody C, Dhaliwal S, Tuot S, Johnson M, Pal K, Yi S,


JMIR mHealth and uHealth 2016 05 204(2) e52 doi 10.2196/mhealth.5297

Despite great achievements in reducing the prevalence of HIV, eliminating new HIV infections remains a challenge in Cambodia. Entertainment venues such as restaurants, karaoke bars, beer gardens, cafes, pubs, and massage parlors are now considered important venues for HIV prevention efforts and other health outreach interventions.

The purpose of this study was to explore phone use and texting practices of female entertainment workers (FEWs) in order to determine if text messaging is a feasible and acceptable way to link FEWs to health services.

This cross-sectional phone survey was conducted in May 2015 with 97 FEWs aged 18-35 years and currently working at an entertainment venue in Phnom Penh.

Of the 96 respondents, 51% reported sending text messages daily; of them, 47% used Khmer script and 45% used Romanized Khmer. Younger FEWs were more likely to report daily texting (P<.001). Most FEWs (98%) in this study reported feeling comfortable receiving private health messages despite the fact that 39% were sharing their phone with others. Younger FEWs were less likely to share their phone with others (P=.02). Of all of the FEWs, 47% reported owning a smartphone, and younger women were more likely to own a smartphone than were older women (P=.08). CONCLUSIONS
The findings from this study support the development of mHealth interventions targeting high-risk groups in urban areas of Cambodia. Our data suggest that mHealth interventions using texting may be a feasible way of reaching FEWs in Phnom Penh.

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