After Hookups, E-Cards That Warn, "Get Checked"
February 3, 2009
This year, inSPOT, the online STD partner notification system, plans to develop a national Web site. The program currently operates in 11 cities, including New York City, and 10 states.
"Notifying the person exposed to a sexually transmitted infection is the critical piece in preventing further spread. And as the reach of the Internet expands for use in finding instant sex partners, we're using that technology as part of the solution," said Dr. Susan Blank, New York City's assistant health commissioner for STDs.
However, evaluating inSPOT is a challenge, since ISIS cannot determine whether e-card recipients seek testing. And Mary McFarland, an STD specialist at CDC, wonders whether some people who send out anonymous cards are playing pranks.
Dr. Kees Rietmeijer, director of STD control at Denver's Department of Public Health, said inSPOT provides health officials with an alternative to in-person partner notification, which is time-consuming and expensive. "Having said that, as far as effectiveness, the jury is still out," he noted. "If you have X number of hits on the Web site, we don't really know if that translates to people coming to the clinic to be tested and treated."
New York Times
01.20.2009; David Tuller
AP/Yahoo! News Examines Increasing Use of Social Networking Sites to Reach People Exposed to HIV, Other STIs