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'Can you recommend any good STI apps?' A review of content, accuracy and comprehensiveness of current mobile medical applications for STIs and related genital infections.

Gibbs, J; Gkatzidou, V; Tickle, L; Manning, SR; Tilakkumar, T; Hone, K; Ashcroft, RE; Sonnenberg, P; Sadiq, ST; Estcourt, CS (2017) 'Can you recommend any good STI apps?' A review of content, accuracy and comprehensiveness of current mobile medical applications for STIs and related genital infections. Sex Transm Infect, 93 (4). pp. 234-235. ISSN 1472-3263 https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2016-052690
SGUL Authors: Sadiq, Syed Tariq

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Seeking sexual health information online is common, and provision of mobile medical applications (apps) for STIs is increasing. Young people, inherently at higher risk of STIs, are avid users of technology, and apps could be appealing sources of information. We undertook a comprehensive review of content and accuracy of apps for people seeking information about STIs. METHODS: Search of Google Play and iTunes stores using general and specific search terms for apps regarding STIs and genital infections (except HIV), testing, diagnosis and management, 10 September 2014 to 16 September 2014. We assessed eligible apps against (1) 19 modified Health on The Net (HON) Foundation principles; and (2) comprehensiveness and accuracy of information on STIs/genital infections, and their diagnosis and management, compared with corresponding National Health Service STI information webpage content. RESULTS: 144/6642 apps were eligible. 57 were excluded after downloading. 87 were analysed. Only 29% of apps met ≥6 HON criteria. Content was highly variable: 34/87 (39%) covered one or two infections; 40 (46%) covered multiple STIs; 5 (6%) focused on accessing STI testing. 13 (15%) were fully, 46 (53%) mostly and 28 (32%) partially accurate. 25 (29%) contained ≥1 piece of potentially harmful information. Apps available on both iOS and Android were more accurate than single-platform apps. Only one app provided fully accurate and comprehensive information on chlamydia. CONCLUSIONS: Marked variation in content, quality and accuracy of available apps combined with the nearly one-third containing potentially harmful information risks undermining potential benefits of an e-Health approach to sexual health and well-being.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, SEXUAL HEALTH, Cell Phones, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Information Seeking Behavior, Mobile Applications, Patient Education as Topic, Privacy, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Reduction Behavior, Self Care, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Telemedicine, COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, SEXUAL HEALTH, Cell Phones, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Information Seeking Behavior, Mobile Applications, Patient Education as Topic, Privacy, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Reduction Behavior, Self Care, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Telemedicine, Public Health, 1103 Clinical Sciences, 1117 Public Health And Health Services, 1108 Medical Microbiology
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Infection and Immunity Research Institute (INII)
Journal or Publication Title: Sex Transm Infect
ISSN: 1472-3263
Language: eng
Dates:
DateEvent
1 June 2017Published
24 November 2016Published Online
8 October 2016Accepted
Publisher License: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Projects:
Project IDFunderFunder ID
G0901608Medical Research Councilhttp://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000265
UNSPECIFIEDBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Councilhttp://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000268
UNSPECIFIEDNational Institute for Health Researchhttp://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000272
UNSPECIFIEDChief Scientist Officehttp://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000589
UNSPECIFIEDWellcome Trusthttp://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100004440
PubMed ID: 27884965
Go to PubMed abstract
URI: http://openaccess.sgul.ac.uk/id/eprint/108917
Publisher's version: https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2016-052690

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