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ChatGPT as a tool to improve access to knowledge on sexually transmitted infections
  1. Matthew Chung Yi Koh1,
  2. Jinghao Nicholas Ngiam1,
  3. Paul Anantharajah Tambyah1,2,3,
  4. Sophia Archuleta1,2
  1. 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, National University Health System, Singapore
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  3. 3Infectious Diseases Translational Research Programme, Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jinghao Nicholas Ngiam, NUHS, Singapore, Singapore, Singapore; nicholas.ngiam{at}mohh.com.sg

Abstract

Objectives Specific to sexual health, individuals in need of information may be adolescents who have limited ability to formally access healthcare. These digital natives may turn to ChatGPT to address their concerns on sexually transmitted infections (STI). We sought to evaluate the veracity of ChatGPT’s responses to commonly asked questions on STIs.

Methods We instructed ChatGPT (GPT 3.5) to answer STI questions from three domains, namely, (1) general risk factors for STIs, (2) access to care and diagnosis of STIs and (3) management of STIs and postexposure prophylaxis. The responses were recorded and checked against the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention STI Treatment Guidelines 2021.

Results Overall, the responses were concise and accurate. In terms of prevention, ChatGPT could also recommend measures like safe sex practices and human papillomavirus vaccination. However, it failed to recommend HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. When an individual expressed a symptom that could potentially represent STI (eg, dyspareunia) ChatGPT appropriately provided reassurance that other possibilities exist, but advocated for testing. In terms of treatment, ChatGPT consistently communicated the importance of partner testing and follow-up testing, but at times, failed to highlight the importance of testing for other STIs. Overall, the advice given was not tailored to the specific individual’s circumstances.

Conclusions ChatGPT can provide helpful information regarding STIs, but the advice lacks specificity and requires a human physician to fine-tune. Its ubiquity may make it a useful adjunct to sexual health clinics, to improve knowledge and access to care.

  • EDUCATION
  • COUNSELLING
  • Patient Participation
  • SEXUAL HEALTH

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Footnotes

  • MCYK and JNN are joint first authors.

  • Handling editor David Regan

  • MCYK and JNN contributed equally.

  • Collaborators N/A.

  • Contributors JNN, MCYK contributed to the conception, data collection, analysis and writing of the manuscript. PAT and SA contributed to the conception, data analysis and critical review of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.