Title

Sexual Health Education: The Untapped and Unmeasured Potential of US-based Websites

Department

Public Health

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Sex Education

Publication Date

2021-06-13

Abstract

With the exponential growth of online information seeking by young people, it is imperative for health and sexual health educators to consider online information a resource young people will pursue. Access to accurate and comprehensive sexual health information is important, yet there is a scarcity of research evaluating the quality of this information. Using youth-direct search terms, this study examined the quality of online information accessed with respect to usability and reliability. The top three US-based websites with the highest return rates were the US Centers for Disease Control, Planned Parenthood, and WebMD. Each of these websites was assessed using the Health Information Website Quality Assessment (HIWQA) to examine the quality of sexual health information provided. Results indicated that the reliability of sexual health information was highest on the CDC website while usability was highest on the Planned Parenthood and WebMD websites. These findings signal the variability of website quality and stress the need for websites that have both high usability and reliability when providing sexual health information.

Keywords

online, sexual health information, sexual health education, sex education

DOI

10.1080/14681811.2021.1935227

https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2021.1935227

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