WYZ: Technology Designed To Connect Youth Living with HIV

Thanks to developments in HIV treatment and prevention, only around 300 people are diagnosed with HIV in San Francisco per year. But for those 300, especially those within the 18-29 age range, an HIV diagnosis brings feelings of confusion, uncertainty, loneliness, and fear for the future. HIV can be an isolating condition, and a critical aspect for newly diagnosed youth is to feel like part of the community while also maintaining personal privacy.

SOM Tech partnered with the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) Assistant Professor Dr. Parya Saberi to develop WYZ (pronounced “Wise”), a mobile health app that:

  • Helps patients track and remember to take their medications,
  • Simplifies communication between providers and patients, and
  • Builds a community to help reduce the stigma of HIV.

SOM Tech worked with Dr. Saberi and the patient community to develop tools that provide a balance between anonymity and community for WYZ users, as well as resources and reminders to help patients feel in control.

SOM Tech’s human-centered design workshops with youth living with HIV helped the team refine and prioritize the WYZ app’s most useful features, including:

  • Medication reminders
  • Adherence and refill tracking
  • Lab result access
  • Healthcare team access
  • Community resources identification
  • Social networking functions

My work on this project: graphic and interaction design, workshop facilitation


My Meds promotes motivation by allowing participants to monitor their adherence, CD4+ cell count and plasma HIV RNA.


The calendar view shows medication adherence daily
to encourage self-care and behavior change.


Lab and adherence progress charts are accompanied with messages and/or guidance based on results.


My Team allows patients to communicate directly with their health care providers and access local resources.


My Community provides an anonymous social network,
trusted medical news and relevant community events.


Chats reduces social isolation by providing a safe place to share experiences and recommendations.


Photos from participatory design workshops about the Community section of the app: