Teleconsultation in sexual and reproductive health for young adults through mobile devices: Experience in Colombia
Background: Sexual risk behaviors associated with poor information on sexuality have contributed to major public health problems in the area of sexual and reproductive health in teenagers and young adults in Colombia. Objective: To measure the perception of changes in sexual and reproductive risk behavior after the use of a teleconsultation service via mobile devices in a sample of young adults. Methods: A before and after observational study was designed, where a mobile application to inquire about sexual and reproductive health was developed. The perception of changes in sexual and reproductive health risk behaviors in a sample of young adults after the use of the application was measured using the validated survey “Family Health International (FHI) – Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BSS) – Survey for Adults between 15 to 40 Years”. Non-probabilistic convenience recruitment was undertaken through the study´s web page. Participants answered the survey online before and after the use of the mobile application for a six month period (intervention). For the inferential analysis, data was divided into three groups (dichotomous data, discrete quantitative data, and ordinal data), to compare the results of the questions between the first and the second survey. For all tests, a confidence interval of 95% was established. For dichotomous data, the Chi-squared test was used. For quantitative data, we used the Student’s t-test, and for ordinal data, the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test. Results: A total of 257 subjects were registered in the study and met the selection criteria. The pre-intervention survey was answered by 232 subjects, and 127 completely answered the post-intervention survey, of which 54. 3% did not use the application, leaving an effective population of 58 subjects for analysis. 53% (n=31) were female, and 47% (n=27) were male. The mean age was 21 years, ranging between 18 and 40 years. The differences between the answers on the first and the second survey were not statistically significant. The main risk behaviors identified in the population were homosexual relations, non-use of condoms, sexual relations with non-regular and commercial partners, the use of psychoactive substances, and ignorance about the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV transmission. Conclusions: Although there were no differences between the pre- and post-intervention results, the study revealed different risk behaviors among the participating subjects. These findings highlight the importance of promoting educational strategies on this matter and the importance of providing patients with easily accessible tools with reliable health information.