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San Francisco unveils Internet-based STD partner notification service (13973)

13973Health News2004-10-08

San Francisco unveils Internet-based STD partner notification service

Health officials in San Francisco on Wednesday unveiled an Internet-based service aimed at informing the partners of gay and bisexual men who've contracted sexually transmitted diseases that they also may have been exposed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Called InSPOT (Internet Notification Service for Partners or Tricks), the service allows someone who's contracted an STD to send one of six "e-cards" up to six e-mail addresses that warns recipients they may have been exposed to an STD. The cards can be sent anonymously or include the e-mail address of the sender. A drag-down menu allows the sender to indicate one of eight STDs the recipient may have been exposed to: chlamydia; crabs or scabies; gonorrhea; hepatitis A; molluscum contagiosum; non-gonococcal urethritis; shigella; and syphilis. HIV is not included, site organizers say, due to fears over potential misuse by spammers.

InSPOT, designed and operated by San Francisco-based Internet Sexuality Information Services, does not collect any personal information from site users, says ISIS executive director Deb Levine. Operation of the site will cost about $20,000 per year, with another $20,000 earmarked for a billboard advertisement campaign. The funds will come from the city's health department.

Jeffrey Klausner, STD prevention director for the San Francisco health department, says the online STD notification service makes sense for gay and bisexual men, who frequently meet sex partners online and often only have an e-mail address or screen name as contact information for those they've hooked up with. He says more than half of the syphilis cases diagnosed among gay and bisexual men in the city are the result of sexual meetings arranged online.

Although the InSPOT service is being promoted in San Francisco's gay community, the STD notification site is available to anyone. It can be accessed online at

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