Study objective: The relevant literature was reviewed to identify issues in research evaluating digital media technology (DMT) interventions for the primary prevention of STIs/HIV in adolescents and young adults.
Method: A literature search with relevant key terms was conducted in PubMed, for articles with studies that included: (a) participants between 11-29 years; (b) use of one or more of the following forms of DMT: interactive digital video or CD-ROM, computer, text messaging, or Internet; (c) evaluation of an STI/HIV primary prevention intervention; and (d) use of a cognitive, psychosocial, behavioral, or biological outcome.
Results: Twenty-nine studies were identified and included in the review. Based on the review of these studies, 7 main issues were discussed and recommendations for improving future research were offered. The 7 main issues were: (a) need for a balance between universal application and specific sub-group focus, (b) lack of a developmental framework, (c) challenge of applying DMT in resource limited contexts, (d) rapidly changing nature of DMT, (e) lack of biological outcomes, (f) lack of comparison/control groups to assess the impact of DMT, and (g) limited temporal follow-up.
Conclusions: There is increasing literature evaluating the effectiveness of DMT for preventing STIs/HIV among adolescents and young adults. A careful consideration of 7 main issues identified in the literature can improve the design and evaluation of these interventions and enhance our understanding of their effectiveness.
Keywords: Adolescents; Digital media technology; HIV prevention; STI prevention; Sexual health.
Copyright © 2014 North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.