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

Bolin Cao, Huanyu Bao, Emmanuela Oppong, Siyang Feng, Kumi M. Smith, Joseph D. Tucker, Weiming Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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 findingsA 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.SummaryDigital 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The current study was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFE0103800), the National Institutes of Health (NIAID R01AI114310, NIAID K24AI143471), UNC Center for AIDS Research (NIAID 5P30AI050410), NIMH (R34MH109359 and R34MH119963), National Science and Technology Major Project (2018ZX10101-001-001-003), NSFC (81903371), National Social Science Foundation of China (18CXW017), Shenzhen University Grant (18QNFC46), and Foundation for Distinguished Research Groups in Higher Education of Guangdong, China (2018WCXTD015). The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • HIV
  • digital health
  • intervention
  • sexually transmitted infection


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