Journal of Medical Internet Research (May 2014)

eHealth Interventions for HIV Prevention in High-Risk Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Systematic Review

  • Schnall, Rebecca,
  • Travers, Jasmine,
  • Rojas, Marlene,
  • Carballo-Diéguez, Alex

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 5
p. e134


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BackgroundWhile the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence rate has remained steady in most groups, the overall incidence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been steadily increasing in the United States. eHealth is a platform for health behavior change interventions and provides new opportunities for the delivery of HIV prevention messages. ObjectiveThe purpose of this systematic review was to examine the use of eHealth interventions for HIV prevention in high-risk MSM. MethodsWe systematically searched PubMed, OVID, ISI Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar, and Google for articles and grey literature reporting the original results of any studies related to HIV prevention in MSM and developed a standard data collection form to extract information on study characteristics and outcome data. ResultsIn total, 13 articles met the inclusion criteria, of which five articles targeted HIV testing behaviors and eight focused on decreasing HIV risk behaviors. Interventions included Web-based education modules, text messaging (SMS, short message service), chat rooms, and social networking. The methodological quality of articles ranged from 49.4-94.6%. Wide variation in the interventions meant synthesis of the results using meta-analysis would not be appropriate. ConclusionsThis review shows evidence that eHealth for HIV prevention in high-risk MSM has the potential to be effective in the short term for reducing HIV risk behaviors and increasing testing rates. Given that many of these studies were short term and had other limitations, but showed strong preliminary evidence of improving outcomes, additional work needs to rigorously assess the use of eHealth strategies for HIV prevention in high-risk MSM.