Gaming Safer Sex

Published: December 5, 2014

UConn Today
Beth Krane
Original Article:

UConn interactive digital media expert John Christensen has brought to life a virtual world with artificially intelligent characters so realistic, engaging, and compassionate, they have accomplished something that, to date, in-person health behavior-change interventions have not.

Christensen, an assistant professor of communication, and collaborators at the University of Southern California (USC) found the video game they created as an intervention for risky alcohol, drug, and sexual behavior is the first to reduce the shame that many young men who have sex with men first experience as stigma and then internalize.

And that’s not all. By reducing the young men’s feelings of shame, the video game helped the players to cut their real-life risky sexual behavior in half, the study shows.

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