The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is launching an online partner notification service for people diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
"Notifying sexual partners that they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection so they can get tested is a critical component of disease prevention and control," said Dr. Mark Gilbert, a physician epidemiologist with the BCCDC. "And now, thanks to inSPOT, it just got easier in British Columbia."
The inSPOT website allows users to tell their sexual partners to get tested for STIs by email through an electronic postcard. The e-cards, which can be sent anonymously, are pithy and to the point. "Sometimes there are strings attached," reads one. "I got diagnosed with STDs since we were together. Get checked out soon." Another says: "It's not what you brought to the party, it's what you left with. I left with an STI. You might have, too. Get checked out soon."
E-cards can be sent to up to six partners at a time, and users have the option of including a personal message.
"Anyone can use inSPOT. It doesn’t require visitors to login or register to use the service," Gilbert said. "It’s free, simple and easy to use."
Developed in San Francisco in 2004, inSPOT also provides information related to specific STIs and treatment, as well as a list of local STI and HIV testing sites. The inSPOT website is being used throughout North America, and has already been customized for Ottawa and Toronto. Officials say the service is not intended to act in place of telling sexual partners in person or with the assistance of a public health nurse, but is "an additional tool people can use to notify their partners when they know their partners' email addresses."