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Social Networking and Online Recruiting for HIV Research: Ethical Challenges

Brenda L. Curtis
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal
Vol. 9, No. 1 (February 2014), pp. 58-70
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/jer.2014.9.1.58
Stable URL:
Page Count: 13
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Social Networking and Online Recruiting for HIV Research
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Social networking sites and online advertising organizations provide HIV/AIDS researchers access to target populations, often reaching difficult-to-reach populations. However, this benefit to researchers raises many issues for the protections of prospective research participants. Traditional recruitment procedures have involved straightforward transactions between the researchers and prospective participants; online recruitment is a more complex and indirect form of communication involving many parties engaged in the collecting, aggregating, and storing of research participant data. Thus, increased access to online data has challenged the adequacy of current and established procedures for participants’ protections, such as informed consent and privacy/confidentiality. Internet-based HIV/AIDS research recruitment and its ethical challenges are described, and research participant safeguards and best practices are outlined.

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