Computer Provides Sex Health Information

LONDON, Sept. 8 (UPI) — Computer-based interventions on sexual health — successful for HIV prevention — may help with family planning or relationship issues, U.K. researchers say.

Lead researcher Julia Bailey of University College London says patients may be unlikely to discuss sexual health concerns because of the sensitivity of the issues, or because healthcare providers have limited time.

Bailey and colleagues reviewed data from 15 studies that tested interactive computer-based interventions — requiring input from the user — involving 3,917 people. The interactive packages used animations, scenarios, simulations and interactive characters.

The review finds interactive computer-based interventions 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.

For example, in one study, after an interactive computer-based intervention, condom use from the previous month increased.

The review, published in the Cochrane Library, concludes that interactive computer-based interventions seem as effective as face-to-face interventions for improving knowledge, but the researchers were unable to draw clear conclusions about how interactive computer-based interventions may work.

“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,” Bailey adds.

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