AP/Yahoo! News Examines Increasing Use of Social Networking Sites to Reach People Exposed to HIV, Other STIs
April 21, 2009
The AP/Yahoo! News on Saturday examined the rising number of public health agencies that are utilizing social networking Web sites to reach people who may have been exposed to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Health departments traditionally have used letters and phone calls to set up face-to-face meetings with the partners of people with STIs who visit their clinics, test positive or provide their partner's information to health officials. However, the Internet sometimes allows people to identify their partners only through online names. By accessing popular social networking sites -- such as Manhunt, which is targeted at men who have sex with men -- health officials can use online names to contact people's partners and advise them to seek out STI testing and treatment, the AP/Yahoo! News reports.
According to the AP/Yahoo! News, public health groups in three Ohio cities -- Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus -- are the most recent to use online meeting sites to contact people possibly exposed to an STI. David Merriman, project coordinator overseeing HIV/AIDS services for Cleveland, said the city recently started using Manhunt and a similar site, Adam4Adam, to reach people who may have been exposed to syphilis, which is increasing in the city. The "goal is to also be on sites like Facebook where we could reach broader populations, including heterosexual adults and adolescents who wouldn't use sites like Manhunt," he said (Cornwell, AP/Yahoo! News, 4/18).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.