Deborah K. Levine1
, Katherine C. Scott2
, Katherine Ahrens2
, Charlotte Kent2
, and Jeffrey D. Klausner2
. (1) Internet Sexuality Information Services, Inc, P.O. Box 14287, San Francisco, CA, USA, (2) STD Prevention and Control Services, San Francisco Department of Public Health, 356 7th St, San Francisco, CA, USA
inSPOT.org is a unique online STD partner notification (PN) system. A user can select one of six ecards to send to a sexual partner to notify them about possible exposure to an STD, including HIV. Cards can be sent anonymously or from a user's email address.
To provide information on general usage of inSPOT.org .
To inform about the unique qualities of inSPOT.org as part of comprehensive PN efforts.
Preliminary evaluation of inSPOT.org included measures of site usage; street intercept surveys and provider surveys.
In 2005, there were over 93,000 visitors to the website. Almost 16,000 ecards were sent to 26,000 recipients: 14% notified about chlamydia, 17% gonorrhea, and 15% syphilis. 77% were sent anonymously, and 38% of recipients clicked for more information.
Results from 485 street intercept surveys with MSM found that 19% had heard of inSPOT and of those, 5% had used it to notify a partner and 4% had received an ecard. 73% of respondents said if they were diagnosed with an STD, they would consider sending an anonymous ecard.
Results from a survey of 46 local providers found that 26% had heard of inSPOT. Of those, 9% had referred a patient, and of the total respondents, 84% would do so in the future.
inSPOT.org is a viable addition to the STD partner notification toolbox. More research is needed to determine the effect of inSPOT.org on PN behavior and testing trends. Comparison studies between in-person, provider-assisted, and online PN need to take place. Marketing efforts to both providers and community members are imperative to its success.
inSPOT.org could be a cost-effective way to reach MSM at risk for STIs. More training is needed for public health departments in using the Internet as a tool for STD prevention and intervention.