Background: Sexual health as an essential component of life, has been affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Changing in sexual life has consequences for couples and society. A critical review of current literature on sexual function in general populations will shed light on possible determinants as well as at-risk groups. Thus, the aim of this systematic review is to assess the consequences of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health.
Methods/Design: A systematic review of literature on data reporting changings of individuals’ sexual life during the COVID-19 pandemic will be performed. The scientific databases of PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, the World Health Organization, as well as protocols and guideline related to sexual health, behaviors, function and practices will be systematically searched from the onset of the disease in the world until August 15, 2021. We will consider, appraise, and synthesize studies including the change of sexual function and behaviour (physical, emotional, mental and relational health), SRH-care and services (contraception, birth control, STIs management), and sexual rights (gender-based and sexual minorities violence). Screening of search results and extraction of data from included studies will be conducted cooperatively by two authors. The quality of the studies will be appraised and documented. Results will be compiled and presented in evidence tables. Risk of bias (the quality assessment) will be evaluated by two review authors using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool. This protocol has been conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines. Also, this protocol is registered in PROSPERO with number CRD42021275387.
Discussion: Given the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people’s sexual life and reproductive health, this review aims to provide accurate information on different aspects of sexual function and behavior in populations from various age groups, cultures, and sexual orientations sexual health and reproductive care delivery (contraception, and birth control, SDTs management) and sexual rights (gender-based and sexual minority, sexual violence) to provide a better understanding of COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on people’s sexual lives The findings could be used by health planners and health care providers to address the adverse effects of this period on reproductive health and sexual lives.
Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42021275387