Safe-sex study delivers surprising result

Young people who were texted about safe sex ended up catching diseases through sex more than those who weren’t, research indicates

Sending text messages encouraging safe-sex behavior to young people who have recently experienced a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is unable to prevent them from getting reinfected, a British study has found out.

The effectiveness of the Safetxt project, which is aimed at reducing reinfections of chlamydia and gonorrhea, has been tested by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

They published the results of the study, which involved more than 3,000 people aged between 16 and 24, in the medical magazine BMJ on Wednesday.

The participants were separated into two groups, with one of them being sent frequent messages from Safetxt and the other not getting any texts at all.

The researchers found out that 22.2% of those who had received the texts became reinfected with chlamydia or gonorrhea, compared to just 20.3% among those who hadn’t.

“The Safetxt intervention did not reduce chlamydia and gonorrhea reinfections at one year in people aged 16-24 years. More reinfections occurred in the Safetxt group,” the paper acknowledged.

The authors said that their findings “highlight the need for rigorous evaluation of health communication interventions.”

They also advised the World Health Organization (WHO) that recommends the use of such messaging to “revise its endorsement of digital behavior change communication for strengthening health systems, to specify which topics and content WHO endorses.”

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