E-cards can come in handy to send a quick birthday shout out, but one company, inSpot.org, wants you to use their e-cards to let your partner know you may have given them a sexually transmitted disease.
Started in 2004, inSpot.org is a free Web site where you can anonymously notify partners to get tested for STDs including chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and gonorrhea.
While it’s an interesting idea, research published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases found that most people don’t like the idea of sending an e-card to tell a person that they’ve tested positive for an STD. About 90 percent of those surveyed reported that they thought it was more appropriate to tell the person face to face.
Four percent said they’d tell their partners by email. For the other six percent that prefer to use an inSPOT card, the e-cards range from a light tone: “I got diagnosed with an STD since we played. You might want to get checked too" to other more somber ones such as "It's not what you brought to the party, it's what you left with. I left with an STD. You might have, too. Get checked out soon."
Patients that participated in the study at the Denver Metro Health Clinic were diagnosed and given contact cards to invite their sexual partners to the clinic to be checked. They were also given an inSPOT card with directions on how to use the site.
The inSPOT e-cards were created to aid the gay community in the Bay Area that was battling a rise of syphilis. Because of this, researchers believe that when the same marketing for this target group was given to heterosexual patients at the Denver clinic during the study it failed to appeal across demographics.
In addition to the e-cards, inSPOT, which was developed by the Internet Sexuality Information Services, also provides resource information on HIV and AIDS and testing.