Los Angeles County Web Site Allows Users To Send E-Cards Alerting Partners to HIV, STD Infection
Los Angeles County health officials on Wednesday announced the launch of a Web site -- inSPOTLA.org, or Internet Notification Service for Partners or Tricks, Los Angeles -- that allows users who have been diagnosed with HIV or another sexually transmitted disease to send e-cards to inform their sex partners of their condition, the Los Angeles Times reports. The site, which was developed by Internet Sexuality Information Services and sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Los Angeles County, is part of a national campaign "aimed at people who seek casual sex online," the Times reports (Lin/Costello, Los Angeles Times, 12/15). The first site in the campaign -- known as inSPOT and funded by the San Francisco Department of Public Health STD Services -- was launched in October 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/28). Both sites cover infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, as well as HIV, which was added to the San Francisco site this month. Jonathan Fielding -- public health director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, which so far has given more than $14,000 to the project -- said, "It will help more people get tested early," adding that the site also might help people "modify their behavior." However, some say that e-cards are a callous way to tell people they might have an STD. West Hollywood City Council member Jeffrey Prang said, "There's something about an anonymous e-mail that is a chicken way to do it." According to the Times, the site launches at a time when "AIDS prevention efforts appear to have lost effectiveness," especially among men who have sex with men (Los Angeles Times, 12/15). The number of new HIV diagnoses among MSM nationwide increased 8% from 2003 to 2004, according to CDC statistics (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/18). Seattle, Philadelphia and Indiana are expected to launch inSPOT sites in 2006 (Los Angeles Times, 12/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.