What is Mobile?

Mobile is a way of viewing, receiving, and/or sending information to and from cellular phones and other wireless devices. Mobile encompasses many things -- the mobile web, mobile applications, and text messaging. The mobile web allows you to visit websites on your device with a mobile browser. You can install mobile applications or “apps” on your mobile device to perform specific tasks. While some wireless devices come with apps, you can also download apps from an online app store. Text messaging or “texting” is a way to send and receive messages from your mobile device. You can send messages as text (referred to as Short Message Service or SMS), pictures, video, or audio (referred to as Multimedia Messaging Service or MMS).

Who is Using Mobile?1

  • 45% of all adults in the U.S. own a smartphone.
  • 80% of cell phone users send or receive text messages.
  • 55% of cell phone owners use the internet on their phones.
  • 50% of cell phone users send or receive email on their phones.
  • More African-Americans and Latinos own mobile phones than whites (87% vs. 80%) and minority cell phone owners take advantage of a greater range of their phones’ features compared with white mobile phone users.
  • One in three cell phone owners and half of smartphone owners have used their phone to look up health information.

How Can I Use Mobile in Response to HIV?

  • Access HIV information through text, video, images, and/or audio.
  • Locate local HIV testing sites, treatment, and service providers.
  • Ask and respond to questions about HIV.
  • Remind clients of medical appointments and encourage them to adhere to their medication schedules.
  • Promote wellness and health tracking.
  • Fundraise for AIDS service organizations and community-based organizations.  

What are Some Examples from the Field?

Where Can I Learn More?


1 Pew Internet & American Life Project, “Mobile Health 2012,” Exit Disclaimer Accessed on 1/14/13.

Last revised: 07/01/2013