1:29 PM, Jun 9, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The Centers for Disease Control recently announced the availability of $76 million in grants for the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) program. This program is designed to "monitor the HIV epidemic" and detect changes in HIV-risk behaviors among high-risk population groups with an eye towards improving HIV prevention measures. This round of grants includes an option, based on availability of funds, to extend the research into two additional groups not under regular surveillance: "young MSM (YMSM) [Young Men having Sex with Men] and transgender women." In this case, "young" is defined as 13-17 years old.
Grant recipients must obtain regulatory approval for all survey activities, including these two lesser studied groups. This includes approval by local Institutional Review Boards (IRB) that oversee the studies. According to the CDC, local IRB members are not affiliated with the CDC. Since CDC staff is not directly involved with research subjects, the local IRBs review/approve protocols for these projects instead of a CDC-led IRB.
Given that those in the YMSM group are minors, parental consent can be an issue. However, the IRBs may approve waivers for parental consent if "necessary for the protection of human subjects," according to the CDC. When asked how disclosures of sexual contact between minors and adults would be handled, the CDC replied that "[i]f a participant ... discloses sexual behavior with a non-minor, the awarded grantee must follow their local laws about reporting regulations."
To obtain the data for the survey, the CDC suggests grantees use "respondent-driven sampling (RDS), Facebook Sampling (FBS) or other CDC-approved strategies to recruit MSM [Young Men having Sex with Men]." Asked what "Facebook Sampling" entails, the CDC explained that this method "entails placing banner ads on Facebook visible only to potentially eligible participants. Clicking on the ads will take the respondent to a landing page that displays additional information about [survey] and invites them to participate if eligible." The CDC went on to say that "other CDC-approved strategies include recruiting participants from venues in which YMSM congregate (e.g. venue-based sampling)."
A CDC spokesperson justified this research, even among teen-agers as young as thirteen, saying:
[G]ay and bisexual men of all races continue to be the risk group most severely affected by HIV. According to the most recent national data, between 2008 and 2010, the number of new infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) increased 12 percent, and infections among the youngest MSM – those aged 13 to 24 increased 22 percent. CDC's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS), provides important behavioral context for trends seen in HIV surveillance data. Using these data on HIV testing, prevalence, risk behaviors, and access to prevention services among at-risk populations in U.S. cities with the highest HIV prevalence, we can better target our nation’s HIV prevention efforts.
Grantees must submit applications by August 3, 2015 to be eligible for consideration for a grant. The projected award date is January 1, 2016.
The printing press should not become a social media rumor mill.10:38 AM, Jun 9, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last week, there was yet another news frenzy over something that happened on social media. A Muslim Northwestern University chaplain, Tahera Ahmad, wrote on her Facebook page that she was in "tears of humiliation from discrimination" because a flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can of soda. Ahmad claimed that she was told that this was so she couldn't use the can of soda as a weapon, and that another passenger told her, "You Moslem, you need to shut the f— up.”
Gleanings and observations.1:23 PM, Apr 23, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
In one of his gag appearances, this one as a 2000-year old man, Mel Brooks was asked to name the greatest invention he had witnessed in his long life. “Saran wrap,” he shot back. A useful product, surely, but if environmentalists had the power they now have, unlikely to have emerged from the lab into lunch boxes.
12:01 AM, Mar 28, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
They are men, mostly. They are young, mostly. They are visionaries on a mission -- to systematize and make all the world’s knowledge accessible (Google); to connect all the world’s people with each other (Facebook); to change the way books are read and the sound of music is heard (Apple, Amazon); to reorganize urban transportation in 55 countries (Uber); to make brevity mandatory (Twitter); to create a more literate world and, not to be ignored, elevate free delivery to a right (Amazon).
Apr 6, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 29 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Normally The Scrapbook is pleased to learn of advances in technology allowing greater numbers of people access to the news. Ceteris paribus, these innovations help cultivate an informed public and, we like to hope, keep our journalistic colleagues from the economic chopping block just a little while longer.
11:54 AM, Mar 26, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Governor Chris Christie has a big fan in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The New Jersey governor posted a video on the social media website from his latest town hall event. Zuckerberg "liked" the post and even commented. Check out a screenshot below:
8:36 AM, Jan 23, 2015 • By JIM SWIFT
The deadline to get taxpayer subsidized healthcare is coming up quickly. In an apparent effort to increase enrollment in Obamacare, Facebook ads are running trying to get users to checkout the website.
7:01 AM, Jan 14, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The Pentagon called the hacking of the Central Command's (CENTCOM) YouTube and Twitter accounts Monday "
8:20 AM, Jan 8, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Sony hackers made a big mistake by logging into Facebook, according to a report in the New York Times. The mistake, according to the report, revealed the hackers were working for North Korea.
It didn’t start with Facebook. Jun 9, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 37 • By STEVEN C. MUNSON
The practice of “sharing” is now so widespread and ingrained in our daily lives that it bids fair to become the distinguishing feature of our age, much as the use of stone tools once defined an earlier period of progressive enlightenment. As with other important developments in our cultural and social life over the past four or five decades, “sharing” did not come out of nowhere.
12:00 AM, Apr 26, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
For those of us who believe in the market system, there is something unsettling about the thought of the billionaire bosses of Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, two Disney subsidiaries, and Intuit sitting around a table and agreeing not to compete for staff. Facebook declined an invitation to join the conspiracy. These are the self-styled “disrupters”, believers in the virtues of a market system that allows them to compete for customers even if, especially if, that competition destroys existing enterprises.
Students skip football games to text and tweet.3:03 PM, Sep 26, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There is much to lament about the rise of social media and the damage it has done to ordinary human activities and interactions. And now we learn that it is leeching away the loyalty of American college students for their football teams. Attendance in the student section is down in, of all places, the Southeastern Conference where they play the best football, produce the most champions, and fans organize their fall schedules, if not their entire lives, around the games.
7:45 AM, Aug 15, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Social media resembles the halls of high school in many ways. Not least, according to a recent study (and what would we do without studies?), in the transitory effects on your mood. As Geoffrey Mohan writes in the Los Angeles Times: