Differential uptake and effects of digital sexually transmitted and bloodborne infection testing interventions among equity-seeking groups: a scoping review

Ihoghosa Iyamu*, Rodrigo Sierra-Rosales, Claudia S. Estcourt, Amy Salmon, Mieke Koehoorn, Mark Gilbert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Digital sexually transmitted and bloodborne infection (STBBI) testing interventions have gained popularity. However, evidence of their health equity effects remains sparse. We conducted a review of the health equity effects of these interventions on uptake of STBBI testing and explored design and implementation factors contributing to reported effects. Methods: We followed Arksey and O'Malley's framework for scoping reviews (2005) integrating adaptations by Levac et al (2010). We searched OVID Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar and health agency websites for peer-reviewed articles and grey literature comparing uptake of digital STBBI testing with in-person models and/or comparing uptake of digital STBBI testing among sociodemographic strata, published in English between 2010 and 2022. We extracted data using the Place of residence, Race, Occupation, Gender/Sex, Religion, Education, Socioeconomic status (SES), Social capital and other disadvantaged characteristics (PROGRESS-Plus) framework, reporting differences in uptake of digital STBBI testing by these characteristics. Results: We included 27 articles from 7914 titles and abstracts. Among these, 20 of 27 (74.1%) were observational studies, 23 of 27 (85.2%) described web-based interventions and 18 of 27 (66.7%) involved postal-based self-sample collection. Only three articles compared uptake of digital STBBI testing with in-person models stratified by PROGRESS-Plus factors. While most studies demonstrated increased uptake of digital STBBI testing across sociodemographic strata, uptake was higher among women, white people with higher SES, urban residents and heterosexual people. Co-design, representative user recruitment, and emphasis on privacy and security were highlighted as factors contributing to health equity in these interventions. Conclusion: Evidence of health equity effects of digital STBBI testing remains limited. While digital STBBI testing interventions increase testing across sociodemographic strata, increases are lower among historically disadvantaged populations with higher prevalence of STBBIs. Findings challenge assumptions about the inherent equity of digital STBBI testing interventions, emphasising the need to prioritise health equity in their design and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersextrans-2023-055749
Pages (from-to)554-560
Number of pages7
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Volume99
Issue number8
Early online date4 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • health services research
  • reproductive tract infections
  • sexual health
  • socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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