Introduction The use of social networks has been increasing worldwide. Mobile websites and applications (apps) allow people to network more quickly and have more partners for sex. This can facilitate risky sexual behaviours, such as having multiple partners and unprotected sex, which can lead to a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections. This systematic review/meta-analysis will assess the effects of the use of dating sites and apps by women on their level of engagement in risky sexual behaviours and their incidence of sexually transmitted infections.
Methods and analysis The Cochrane Central Controlled Trials Registry, ClinicalTrials.gov, MEDLINE, Embase, SciELO, Web of Science, Scopus and Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature will be searched for cross-sectional studies, clinical trials and observational studies published between January 1990 and July 2020. This systematic review and meta-analysis will include studies investigating the use of mobile apps by women, risky sexual behaviour and sexually transmitted infections. The outcome will be an increase in new cases of sexually transmitted infections and HIV among women using dating sites and apps. Three independent reviewers will select the studies and extract data from the original articles. The risk of bias will be assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool and Risk Of Bias in Non-randomized Studies of Interventions. Data synthesis will be performed using Review Manager software (RevMan V.5.2.3). To assess heterogeneity, we will compute the I2 statistic. In addition, a quantitative synthesis will be carried out if the included studies are sufficiently homogeneous.
Ethics and dissemination This study will be a review of the published data, and thus ethical approval is not required. The findings of this systematic review will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
PROSPERO registration number CRD42019120494.
- health informatics
- infectious diseases
- HIV & AIDS
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Contributors JFQ, BS and AKG designed this systematic review and meta-analysis. JFQ drafted the manuscript, and AKG revised it. JFQ, RNC and AKG developed the search strategies, and JFQ, KSM, ACAS and MNM will implement it. JFQ, KSM, ACAS and MNM will conduct the literature search, extract the data and assess the quality of the included studies. In case of disagreement between the authors, AKG will advise on the methodology and will serve as the referee. RNC will complete the data synthesis. All authors have approved the final version of this manuscript.
Funding This paper was supported by the Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation (No. 9204025). The study sponsor has no role in study design, data analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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