New Web Site Lets Users Know If They Have An STD
LOS ANGELES (CBS) - A new Web site that lets Los Angeles County residents let their partners know they may have given them a sexually transmitted disease, anonymously, was launched Wednesday.
The county Department of Health Services and AIDS Healthcare Foundation launched the new site -- www.InSPOTLA.org -- allows individuals to send electronic cards to their sexual partners.
The e-cards, which can be sent anonymously or with a personal note attached, warn people they may have recently been exposed to a STD. The Web site also provides information on testing and treatment.
"Face-to-face communication is really the way to go, but some people can't do that," said AHF's director of prevention and testing, Karen Mall.
The goal of the free service is to increase partner disclosure, Mall said.
InSPOTLA is based on a similar program launched last year in San Francisco. Officials estimate 750 people use the Bay Area site every day, and an average of 500 e-cards are sent monthly.
In 2003, 36,900 new cases of chlamydia, 8,078 new gonorrhea cases and 830 new syphilis infections were reported in Los Angeles County.
"This Web site will be a powerful tool in reducing the spread of STDs, including HIV, in L.A. County," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of public health.
"By giving people an easy way to notify their sex partners, inSPOTLA will enable more people to get tested and treated early for HIV and other STDs, preventing complications and helping stop the chain of infection," Fielding said.
Though disclosure of infection can be sent anonymously, health officials said they do not expect the Web site to be used for malicious purposes.
Less than half of one percent of the e-cards sent through the San Francisco site have been fraudulent, Mall said.