Introduction Sexual health organisations are embracing social media on an unprecedented scale to engage communities in a more interactive style and with the aim of improving outcomes. However, such technology is still in its early stages and evidence of its efficiency is limited. Especially for young people and underserved communities such as indigenous peoples.The study is an overview of the peer-reviewed evidence on social media to inform consumers in sexual health with a particular focus on the Pacific youth context. Research questions: (1) What is the evidence of benefit for social media campaigns used in sexual health promotion? and (2) What social media campaigns have been used in Indigenous-focused sexual health promotion in the Pacific and what is the evidence of their effectiveness and benefit?
Methods We conducted a scoping study of peer-reviewed evidence. We examined the available literature, conducted researcher surveys, and debriefs, case studies and interviews. This was further accompanied by a consultation of stakeholders. Data collection was still underway in 2016.
Results The review identified 17 intervention studies and seven systematic reviews that met criteria, which showed limited evidence of benefit. We found five projects with significant social media coverage targeting the Indigenous Pacific population for sexual health promotion purposes meeting criteria. No evidence of benefit was found for these projects.
Conclusion Although social media technologies have the unique capacity to reach young people, indigenous communities, and other underserved populations, evidence of their capacity to do so is limited. Current initiatives are neither evidence-based nor widely adopted. Sexual health organisations should tailor platforms specifically to indigenous youth to ensure cultural competencies are met and encouraged.