Mobile health interventions for HIV/STI prevention among youth in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs): A systematic review of studies reporting implementation outcomes



Advances and proliferation of technologies such as mobile phones may provide opportunities to improve access to HIV/STI services and reach young people with high risk for HIV and STI. However, the reach, uptake, and sustainability of mobile health (mHealth) HIV/STI interventions targeting young people aged 10–24 years in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are largely unknown. To address this gap and to inform implementation science research, a review was conducted to summarize what is known, and what we need to know about implementing mhealth interventions for HIV/STI prevention targeting young people in LMICs.


We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for this review. Drawing upon Proctor’s eight implementation outcome measures, we evaluated the acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, cost, feasibility, fidelity, penetration, and sustainability of  m-health HIV/STI interventions targeting young people in LMICs. The search was performed from September 2020–January 2021 and updated on March 1, 2021, in Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed, SCOPUS, Global Health, and Web of Science. Eligible studies were required to include an HIV/STI prevention outcome, target young people aged 10–24 years, include a comparison/control group, and reporting of atleast one implementation outcome as outlined by Proctor.


A total of 1386 articles were located, and their titles and abstracts were screened. Of these, 57 full-text articles were reviewed and subsequently, and 11 articles representing 6 unique interventions were included in the systematic review. Acceptability 6 (100%), appropriateness 6 (100%), and feasibility 5 (83%) were the most frequently evaluated implementation outcomes. Adoption 2 (33%), fidelity 1 (17%), and cost 1 (17%) were rarely reported; penetration and sustainability were not reported.


This review contributes to implementation science literature by synthesizing key implementation outcomes of mHealth HIV/STI interventions targeting young people in LMICs. Future research is needed on m-health HIV/STI implementation outcomes, particularly the penetration, cost, and long-term sustainability of these interventions. Doing so will enhance the field’s understanding of the mechanisms by which these interventions lead or do not lead to changes in high HIV/STI risk and vulnerability among young people in LMICs.


Nwaozuru U, Obiezu-Umeh C, Shato T, Uzoaru F, Mason S, Carter V, Manu S, Modi K, Parker J, Ezechi O, Iwelunmor J




  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Education/media campaigns


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