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article imageYou've got email, and herpes

By David Silverberg     Oct 21, 2008 in Internet
If you receive an e-card recently warning you about possibly contracting a sexually transmitted disease, don't relegate it as spam just yet. A San Francisco website lets people email STD alerts. has sent more than 49,000 cards since 2004.
Digital Journal -- According to journal PLoS Medicine, has been a resounding success in alerting people to STD infection. Available since 2004, the website lets visitors send e-cards to partners or ex-lovers, informing them they may have contracted an STD. The e-card is not only meant as a shocker; it lists health resources the individual should visit to learn more about the disease they may have contracted.
Also, the sender can attach an optional message and include his or her email address.
More than 750 people visit the site daily and since it began in San Francisco (first serving the gay community, then broadening to wider heterosexual communities), the service has sent more than 49,500 e-cards. In 2006 and 2007, syphilis and gonorrhea accounted for 30 per cent of the e-cards sent altogether, while 9.3 per cent of e-cards were sent relating to HIV. Just under half of the email alerts focused on "other" diseases such as crabs, herpes, hepatitis A, B and C, and nongonococcal urethritis.
Most importantly, the click-through rate (the number of people who open the sent e-card) is quite high for something that resembles spam. In Idaho, the response hovers around 48 per cent and in Los Angeles the rate is closer to 20.4 per cent.
According to the journal, there are 19 million new (STD) cases diagnosed each year in the U.S., including 900,000 reported cases of chlamydia, 330,000 reported cases of gonorrhea and 55,400 new HIV infections. The authors of the study view as a potential game-changer in warning individuals early enough to treat STDs. In countries that lack extensive technology infrastructure, people access the Web in public Internet cafes [19] and, increasingly, via their portable digital assistants and cell phones...inSPOT has the potential to be a national and international resource.
News about this resource comes at a timely moment: Jonathan Aziga is facing first-degree murder chargers for allegedly having sex with women after he was infected with HIV. Prosecutors said he continued to have sex with his partners without informing them about his infection.
More about Inspot org, Std, HIV
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