Use of social media for sexual health promotion
Lavranos, Giagkos M.
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INTRODUCTION: The wide use of social media in the last years changed decisively the way that a variety of health organizations tried to form effective health promotion campaigns. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic literature review on the use of social media for sexual health promotion. MATERIAL AND METHOD: A systematic literature review was conducted in PubMed and Cochrane, using the following keywords: social media, social networking sites, use, sexual health promotion campaigns, sexual health promotion interventions. Among 186 results, 14 studies met the inclusion criteria, since we included only the randomized controlled trials because they have the lowest systematic bias. RESULTS: Four studies used Facebook, one study used MySpace, two studies used text messaging and emails and seven studies used web-based applications to empower users at sexual health issues. Four studies found statistically significant increase in knowledge for sexual health issues such as HIV prevention and sexually transmitted infections. Two studies found statistically significant increase in condom use and two studies found statistically significant delay of sexual activity initiation. There were also two studies indicated that communication improvement between parents and children may be an effective way of sexual health promotion. Finally one study found that social networking sites have the potential to empower active users to remove sexual references from their public social media profile and one study found statistically significant increase in comfort that active users discuss any issue of sexual health through social media channels. CONCLUSIONS: Social media are effective in sexual health promotion but more studies with decreased bias are needed to be conducted in order to make safer conclusions.