Use of digital media technology for primary prevention of STIs/HIV in youth

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2014 Oct;27(5):244-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2013.07.008. Epub 2013 Dec 9.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • CD-ROM
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Text Messaging
  • Young Adult