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Keywords:

  • erectile dysfunction;
  • internet search activity;
  • public health medicine;
  • sexual medicine

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Despite the increasing prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED), there is reluctance among symptomatic patients to present to healthcare providers for appropriate advice and treatment.

A number of Internet campaigns have been launched by the Irish healthcare media since 2007 aiming to provide easily accessible advice on ED. Novel online technologies appear to provide a useful tool for educating the general public on the symptoms of ED because there has been a significant increase in overall Internet search activity for this term since 2007.

OBJECTIVES

  • • 
    To assess Internet search trends for erectile dysfunction (ED) subsequent to public awareness campaigns being launched within the Republic of Ireland
  • • 
    To assess whether the advent of such campaigns correlates with increased Internet search activity for ED.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

  • • 
    Google insights for search was utilized to examine Internet search trends for the term ‘erectile dysfunction’ across all categories between January 2005 and December 2011.
  • • 
    Search activity was limited to users from the Republic of Ireland within this timeframe.
  • • 
    Additionally, the number of Irish Internet media campaigns and Irish web pages providing information on ED was assessed between January 2005 and December 2011.
  • • 
    Statistical analysis of the data was performed using analysis of variance and Student's t-tests for pairwise comparisons.

RESULTS

  • • 
    There has been a significant increase in mean search activity for ED on an annual basis since 2007 (P < 0.001).
  • • 
    The number of Irish web pages associated with information on ED has also increased significantly on an annual basis since 2007 (P < 0.001).
  • • 
    There have been seven different Irish Internet media campaigns on ED since 2007 compared to two from 2005 to 2007 (P < 0.001).
  • • 
    There was no significant change in mean search activity for ED from 2005 to 2007

CONCLUSIONS

  • • 
    The advent of recent Internet media campaigns and increasing number of Irish web pages is associated with a significant increase in online activity for ED in the Republic of Ireland.
  • • 
    Novel online technologies appear to provide a useful tool for educating the general public on the symptoms and treatment options available for ED.