BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common in young people and men who have sex with men (MSM) and effective in-service interventions are needed.
METHODS: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of waiting-room-delivered, self-delivered and brief healthcare-provider-delivered interventions designed to reduce STIs, increase use of home-based STI testing, or reduce STI-risk behavior was conducted. Six databases were searched between January 2000 and October 2014.
RESULTS: 17,916 articles were screened. 23 RCTs of interventions for young people met our inclusion criteria. Significant STI reductions were found in four RCTs of interventions using brief one-to-one counselling (2 RCTs), video (1 RCT) and a STI home-testing kit (1 RCT). Increase in STI test uptake was found in five studies using video (1 RCT), one-to-one counselling (1 RCT), home test kit (2 RCTs) and a web-based intervention (1 RCT). Reduction in STI-risk behavior was found in seven RCTs of interventions using digital online (web-based) and offline (computer software) (3 RCTs), printed materials (1 RCT) and video (3 RCTs). Ten RCTs of interventions for MSM met our inclusion criteria. Three tested for STI reductions but none found significant differences between intervention and control groups. Increased STI test uptake was found in two studies using brief one-to-one counselling (1 RCT) and an online web-based intervention (1 RCT). Reduction in STI-risk behavior was found in six studies using digital online (web-based) interventions (4 RCTs) and brief one-to-one counselling (2 RCTs).
CONCLUSION: A small number of interventions which could be used, or adapted for use, in sexual health clinics were found to be effective in reducing STIs among young people and in promoting self-reported STI-risk behavior change in MSM.