You’ve Got Male: Gay Cyber Site Promotes Health, STD Protection
August 25, 2006
Cambridge, Mass.-based Manhunt.net is one of many Web sites catering to gay men looking to connect with other men. Unlike most such sites, however, it provides AIDS counseling and recruits participants for surveys and HIV drug studies. It also gives HIV-positive members an anonymous way to inform members to whom they may have transmitted the virus.
"It's a way to reach people that wouldn't be reachable otherwise," said Stephan Adelson, who heads Online Buddies Inc. and runs the 700,000-member site.
Fourteen Massachusetts health organizations, including the Department of Public Health, partner with Manhunt.net. Each has a screen name, and their ads appear on the site alongside members' personal postings.
"In comparison to lots of other sites, it's light-years ahead," said Ben Perkins, director of the Men's Action Life Empowerment (MALE) Center, a community resource center in Boston. AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, which operates the center, posts free banner ads on the site to round up volunteers for studies and surveys. Manhunt.net partners with 130 community health organizations nationwide.
08.13.2006; Jessica Fargen