Adolescent Perceptions of Technology-Based Sexual and Reproductive Health Services: A Systematic Review

J Adolesc Health. 2022 Nov;71(5):533-544. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.05.012. Epub 2022 Jun 15.


Technology-based services, including telehealth, text messaging, and the internet are increasingly popular methods for adolescents and young adults (AYA) to access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and healthcare. This systematic review examined AYA perceptions of privacy and confidentiality of technology-based SRH services. The PubMed, Scopus, and PsycINFO were systematically searched in May 2021 to capture relevant qualitative or quantitative articles from the past 10 years. Included studies had AYA (i.e., mean age, 13-26-years with <10% of the sample outside this range), technology-based services for SRH, and outcomes of perceived privacy or confidentiality. Twenty-eight articles were included (N = 8638 AYA). Most studies utilized the internet and mobile apps to address human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), sexually transmitted infections, and general SRH topics. Most AYA reported that these services were private and confidential, with minimal differences across SRH topic addressed. More interactive services had greater concerns (e.g., family or friends seeing notifications). Most AYA considered technology-based SRH to be confidential and private. As technology will likely remain an integrated part of healthcare delivery, improving the privacy and confidentiality of these services can facilitate AYA's independent and autonomous engagement in SRH care, and potentially improve their SRH outcomes.

Keywords: Adolescent; Adolescent medicine; Confidentiality; Mobile applications; Reproductive health; Reproductive health services; Sexual health; Telemedicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services*
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Reproductive Health
  • Reproductive Health Services*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Health*
  • Technology
  • Young Adult