The findings and conclusions in these presentations have not been formally disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 10:00 AM

inSPOTLA: New Frontiers in HIV/STD Partner Notification Using the Internet

Harlan Rotblatt1, Karen L. Mall2, Jorge A. Montoya3, Aaron Plant3, and Peter R. Kerndt3. (1) Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 2615 S. Grand Avenue, Room 500, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (2) AIDS Healthcare Foundation, 1300 N. Scott Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (3) Sexually Transmitted Disease Program, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, 2615 S. Grand Avenue, Room 500, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Use of the Internet to meet sex partners by men who have sex with men (MSM) with primary and secondary syphilis in Los Angeles County (LAC) increased from 12% in 2001 to 42% in 2005 (YTD). Research has found associations between Internet use and numerous STD risk factors. However, the Internet also offers powerful public health tools for STD/HIV control. In December, 2005, a website,, was launched to facilitate partner notification in LAC. This website, modified from a San Francisco site, enables users to send an e-card (electronic postcard), anonymous if desired, to sex partners regarding potential HIV/STD exposure. E-card recipients are linked to clinic referrals on the website.

Key objectives include increased use of inSPOTLA for STD/HIV partner notification and testing, and documented clinic visits by e-card recipients.

InSPOTLA concepts were tested in three MSM focus groups in 2005, and discussed with key community leaders. Key innovations of inSPOTLA were addition of HIV to the menu of STDs for e-cards, expanded clinic referrals, and options for non-internet partner notification, including public health and counselor assisted notification. Web usage statistics were collected electronically. LAC DHS STD clinic intake forms were revised to capture inSPOTLA referrals; and prominent HIV/STD service agencies met to develop collaborative inSPOTLA linkages and evaluation. Publicity materials included postcards, posters, and print ads.

Most focus group participants and all community leaders responded positively. The website was successfully adapted and launched. Promotional materials were distributed through targeted venues and events. Other data collected through April 2006, including website usage, clinic referrals, and other publicity efforts, will also be presented.

An Internet-based partner notification website for STDs, including HIV, can be successfully implemented with broad community acceptance.

Additional evaluation of user satisfaction and website-linked STD/HIV diagnosis is needed to assess the impact on STD/HIV transmission.