Digital health for sexually transmitted infection and HIV services: a global scoping review

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2020 Feb;33(1):44-50. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000619.


Purpose of review: The current study aimed to review how digital health has been used for sexually transmitted infection (STI)/HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

Recent findings: A scoping review was conducted by searching five databases for peer-reviewed literature published between March 2018 to August 2019. 23 out of 258 studies met the inclusion criteria and were assessed. Six studies used digital platform to enhance STI/HIV prevention messaging; four studies found that digital health can provide vivid promotional information and has been instrumental in increasing the accessibility and acceptability of STI/HIV testing; three studies reported digital health provides a channel to understand and interpret the discourses on preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and increase PrEP uptake; three studies focused on refining big data algorithms for surveillance; four studies reported on how digital interventions could be used to optimize clinical interventions; and four studies found digital interventions can be used to assist mental health services.

Summary: Digital health is a powerful and versatile tool that can be utilized in the production of high-quality, innovative strategies on STIs and HIV services. Future studies should consider focusing on strategies and implementations that leverage digital platforms for network-based interventions, in addition to recognizing the norms of individual digital intervention platforms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • HIV Testing
  • Health Communication
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission
  • Telemedicine*