Introduction Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are an important cause of poor reproductive and sexual health in adolescents. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are key to reducing long term sequelae. We reviewed the evidence on current methods of results delivery for STIs, with a focus on adolescent services.
Method The literature was reviewed systematically between June and August 2016. Six databases were searched, reference lists reviewed and authors contacted for studies on methods of results delivery for STIs to adolescents (aged 15–25 years). Titles and abstracts were reviewed and full text obtained for quality assessment and data extraction.
Results Of 549 studies identified, 19 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Seven studies focused on adolescent populations, all in high-income settings. Three studies in low- and middle-income settings and nine included adolescents as a stratified group. Twelve studies were cross-sectional, two randomised control trials, the remaining employed mixed methods. Outcome measures varied widely, percentage preferences for method of results being the commonest measure. Findings show that mobile phone call and text were the commonest methods of returning results. Other modalities including text message, email and online notification demonstrated wide variations in acceptability. Preferences varied according to type of result, population type, location, client group and previous service use. Mobile phone calls and face-to-face consultations remain highly acceptable.
Discussion The use of mHealth offers promising options for STI results delivery. Methods adopted must consider the target population accounting for gender, age, ethnicity and access to technologies. Customisation is recommended to meet user requirements for optimal health care delivery.
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