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Interactive Websites Aid Sexual Health

Interactive Websites Aid Sexual HealthAfter a comprehensive review of several studies, researchers determine interactive computer-based interventions (ICBIs) help improve knowledge about sexual health. Such interventions can include interactive websites that walk people through a sexual health tutorial.

Cochrane researchers believe the findings could be extrapolated to include computer-based approaches to tackle problems such as sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.

Individuals often prefer a computer-based interaction as they may be unlikely to discuss sexual health concerns with health professionals because of the sensitivity of the issues, or simply because health care providers have limited time.

Computer-based interventions are a promising alternative and have already proved successful in the promotion of HIV-related sexual health, but there is less certainty about whether computer-based interventions can help with other sexual health concerns such as unwanted pregnancy, psychosexual difficulties or relationship problems.

The authors reviewed data from 15 trials which tested interactive computer-based interventions (ICBIs), involving a total of 3,917 people.

Interactive packages require input from the user, for instance making choices that result in personalized feedback.

The interactive packages in these 15 trials made imaginative use of multimedia capability, for example games, animations, scenarios, simulations and interactive characters.

The authors combined the results from the trials to answer three questions: are ICBIs effective, are they as effective as face-to-face interventions, and how do they work?

According to the researchers, ICBIs moderately increased knowledge about sexual health issues and had smaller effects on increasing people’s confidence in their actions to protect sexual health, and on actual sexual behavior.

In one study for instance, condom use in the previous month was increased. They also concluded that ICBIs seem as effective as face-to-face interventions for improving knowledge but were unable to draw clear conclusions about how ICBIs might work.

“This review suggests interactive computer-based interventions are effective tools for learning about sexual health and could be used by people of different ages and sexuality, at least in high-income countries,” said lead researcher Julia Bailey from the e-Health Unit at University College London in London, UK.

“We need some new ways of tackling problems such as genital chlamydia. More and more people have access to mobile phones and the Internet, and these routes can be used to provide personally relevant health promotion.”

More evidence is needed for the cost effectiveness of ICBIs, and the relative effectiveness of different designs. The latter may rely on unpicking the complexities of sexual behavior.

“Knowing the main reasons for risky behavior in a given population would help to suggest which factors a computer package should target. For example, are there particular myths that need to be addressed? Computer packages will not be a magic bullet, but people can access them anonymously and at convenient times, which is especially important for sexual health,” said Bailey.

Source: Wiley-Backwell

Interactive Websites Aid Sexual Health

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Interactive Websites Aid Sexual Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/09/09/interactive-websites-aid-sexual-health/17893.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.