Digital sexually transmitted infection and HIV services across prevention and care continuums: evidence and practical resources

Joseph D. Tucker*, Jane Hocking, David Oladele, Claudia Estcourt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Increased demand for sexual health services (including prevention and treatment) have spurred the development of digital STI/HIV services. Earlier advances in testing technologies opened the door for self-testing and self-sampling approaches, in line with broader self-care strategies. Advances in HIV management mean that many people are living well with HIV and no longer need intensive in person monitoring, while those at-risk of HIV are recommended to have regular asymptomatic STI screening and pre-exposure prophylaxis. This narrative review examines the evidence and implications of digital STI/HIV services, focused on promoting testing, facilitating testing, clinical management and referrals, partner services, and prevention. We have used a prevention and care continuum to structure the review to increase utility to policy as well as practice. Digital STI/HIV services can be interwoven into existing clinical pathways to enhance face-to-face services or standalone digital STI/HIV services. A growing evidence base, including randomized controlled trials and observational studies, should help inform strategies for designing effective digital STI/HIV services. However, most studies to date have focused on high-income countries and people with smartphones, despite a substantial burden of STI/HIV in low and middle-income countries. There are also important differences between digital STI and HIV services that require careful consideration. We discuss digital STI/HIV service evidence and implications to inform research and programs in this exciting field.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual Health
Early online date16 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • chlamydia
  • clinical
  • digital
  • e-health
  • gonorrhoea
  • HIV
  • m-health
  • partner services
  • social media
  • STI

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