World AIDS Day: Fighting the AIDS Pandemic through Mobile Technology

In recognition of World AIDS Day tomorrow, Intel is dedicating this week’s 60 Second Insights videos to honoring the ways in which mobile technology has innovated and transformed healthcare, enabling awareness, prevention, and treatment for both critical illnesses and preventative care.  Our guests shared examples below on how mobile technology is on the forefront of improving the quality of healthcare for people, especially in remote areas where traditional access to healthcare is challenging.   

SMS-accessible information

In a 60 Second Insight interview, Kiva president Premal Shah discussed ways mHealth improves healthcare in countries like Kenya and Uganda where women can get neo-natal information and advice via mobile phones – advice that would likely not come if a healthcare provider had to travel two hours by moped to provide it. Mobile phones can also be used in programs like Integrated Health Information System through Mobile Telephony (IHISM), an Internet-based healthcare information service that accepts SMS messages from mobile devices and responds with personalized information about how to effectively prevent and manage chronic health conditions including HIV/AIDS. IHISM was developed by a team of computer scientists at the University of Botswana in partnership with Microsoft Research, and the service has resulted in better and more frequent treatment.


Education via Applications

Halle Tecco, CEO and co-founder of Rock Health, discussed the ways in which mobile software, such as applications, and hardware help people “manage their health and ultimately live a healthier life.” An example Halle gave is a device that sits on top of a mobile phone, turning it into a heart rate monitor. Another example of an organization using mobile software in this way is UNAIDS and its AIDSinfo iPad app, which  provides “immediate access to key country-by-country HIV data” to help policymakers, researchers and educators better understand the ways HIV infection is spread as well as to identify where treatment and support programs are needed.

Dialing Out

Despite the various and innovative smartphone capabilities, one of the leading uses of mobile technology in health management is simply dialing out. According to Discovery Tech, patients in South Africa can call doctors or national AIDS hotlines and receive text messages highlighting numbers to call for medicines and to arrange for testing. According to the research, many other countries are developing 24-hour health care phone systems. Trina Das Gupta, director of GSMA mWomen Program, says that in countries like Afghanistan where one out of two women die giving childbirth, having the ability to call a doctor rather than physically search for medical care can mean the difference between life and death.

Progress in mobile technology is revolutionizing the fight to “Getting to Zero,” the World AIDS Day goal of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. Share your experiences in how mobile technology has improved you and your family healthcare situation and let us know if you have new ideas on how to use mobile technology in fighting diseases and improving quality of life.