Crowdsourcing to Improve HIV and Sexual Health Outcomes: a Scoping Review
Purpose of Review
This review synthesizes evidence on the use of crowdsourcing to improve HIV/sexual health outcomes.
We identified 15 studies, including four completed randomized controlled trials (RCTs), one planned RCT, nine completed observational studies, and one planned observational study. Three of the four RCTs suggested that crowdsourcing is an effective, low-cost approach for improving HIV testing and condom use among key populations. Results from the observational studies revealed diverse applications of crowdsourcing to inform policy, research, and intervention development related to HIV/sexual health services.
Crowdsourcing can be an effective tool for informing the design and implementation of HIV/sexual health interventions, spurring innovation in sexual health research, and increasing community engagement in sexual health campaigns. More research is needed to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of crowdsourcing interventions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
KeywordsHIV Sexual health Crowdsourcing Quantitative evidence Contests
The authors thank Jennifer Walker from UNC and SESH members for their contributions to this manuscript. This study received support from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID 1R01AI114310-01), UNC-South China STD Research Training Center (FIC 1D43TW009532-01), UNC Center for AIDS Research (NIAID 5P30AI050410), National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFE0103800), SESH (Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health) Global, and Mid-career mentoring grant (K24AI143471). The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 2.Tucker JD, Day S, Tang W, Bayus B. Crowdsourcing in medical research: concepts and applications. PeerJ. 2019;6:In Press.Google Scholar
- 9.•• TDR. Crowdsourcing contests in health and health research: a practical guide. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Available at: https://www.who.int/tdr/publications/year/2018/crowdsourcing-practical-guide/en/ This WHO/TDR practical guide on crowdsourcing in health and health research provides several examples relevant to HIV. Google Scholar
- 13.•• Tang W, Wei C, Cao B, Wu D, Li KT, Lu H, et al. Crowdsourcing to expand HIV testing among men who have sex with men in China: a closed cohort stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial. PLoS Med. 2018;15(8):e1002645. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002645 This study used a stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of a crowdsourced HIV intervention on HIV testing uptake among men who have sex with men (MSM) in eight Chinese cities. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 14.Tang W, Mao J, Liu C, Mollan K, Zhang Y, Tang S, et al. Reimagining health communication: a non-inferiority randomized controlled trial of crowdsourced intervention in China. Sex Transm Dis. 2018.Google Scholar
- 16.• Catallozzi M, Ebel SC, Chavez NR, Shearer LS, Mindel A, Rosenthal SL. Understanding perceptions of genital herpes disclosure through analysis of an online video contest. Sex Transm Infect. 2013;89(8):650–2. https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2013-051027 This study used crowdsourcing to identify lay perspectives on HSV disclosure. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 17.• Hildebrand M, Ahumada C, Watson S. CrowdOutAIDS: crowdsourcing youth perspectives for action. Reprod Health Matters. 2013;21(41):57–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(13)41687-7 This study used crowdsourcing to identify major priorities and strategic actions regarding HIV among youth. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 18.McGregor JA, French JI, Jones J, Perhach M. Crowdsourced analysis of GBS perinatal disease as a sexually transmissible infection (STI) underscores need for GBS vaccine and patient education regarding GBS as an STI to be able to make well-informed sexual practice choices. Sex Transm Dis. 2014;41:S147.Google Scholar
- 20.• Winskell K, Enger D. A new way of perceiving the pandemic: the findings from a participatory research process on young Africans’ stories about HIV/AIDS. Cult Health Sex. 2009;11(4):453–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691050902736984 This is one of the earliest and largest crowdsourced studies that solicited stories about HIV from young Africans. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 22.Mathews A, Farley S, Blumberg M, Knight K, Hightow-Weidman L, Muessig K, et al. HIV cure research community engagement in North Carolina: a mixed-methods evaluation of a crowdsourcing contest. J Virus Erad. 2017;3(4):223.Google Scholar
- 23.Akwara P, Alayon S, Barry S, Lettenmeaier C, David V, Magumba G, et al. Delivery of improved services for health (DISH) project, Uganda. In: The 124th annual meeting of the American Public Health Association. New York; 1996. Available at: https://www.measureevaluation.org/resources/publications/tr-03-14. Accessed 28 May 2019.
- 24.Avery M. Crowdsourcing for PrEP in Thailand, vol. 22. Amsterdam: World AIDS Conference; 2018.Google Scholar
- 28.My voice my choice. myvoicemychoicecontest.com. Accessed 28 May 2019.
- 29.5R34MH116725. https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=9690809&icde=43688487&ddparam=&ddvalue=&ddsub=&cr=2&csb=default&cs=ASC&pball=. Accessed 28 May 2019.