Cheeky e-cards aim to ease disclosure of STIs to sex partners

InSPOT, the online partner notification service now accessible through the disease control centre’s webpage, allows people to choose from a number of templates to share digital postcards with current and past sex partners. The messages are various ways of saying you should get tested for STIs. Users may personalize messages with the specific diagnosis they have received. They can also send them anonymously, if desired, to up to six partners at a time.

“It’s not what you brought to the party, it’s what you left with. I left with an STI. You might have, too.”

So reads an e-card intended to inform sex partners of positive sexually transmitted infection test results – an initiative launched by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control on Aug. 8.

InSPOT, the online partner notification service now accessible through the disease control centre’s webpage, allows people to choose from a number of templates to share digital postcards with current and past sex partners. The messages are various ways of saying you should get tested for STIs. Users may personalize messages with the specific diagnosis they have received. They can also send them anonymously, if desired, to up to six partners at a time.

“There’s probably some controversy over whether or not this is an appropriate way to do it,” said Bobbi Turner, executive director of the Island Sexual Health Society. “But it could mean that a lot more people will be made aware (of exposure to an STI), whereas previously they may not have been because partners were concerned about having to tell someone.”

The website, developed in San Francisco in 2004, includes regional information on STI clinics in cities across Canada and the B. C. region as a whole.

Dr. Mark Gilbert, physician epidemiologist at the disease control centre calls the e-cards an easy, confidential and anonymous way to tell your partners about any STI concerns. There is still the option to inform partners anonymously via public health nurses or a general practitioner, but InSPOT is well-suited for people who would like to inform partners on their own.

Gilbert defends the messages, which he says are deliberately geared toward people who may use the service.

“When (developers of inSPOT) were working on the e-cards, they consulted very carefully with different community groups and people who might use the service, like youth, for example, who are drawn to more humourous cards, or gay men, who are drawn to more edgy cards,” Gilbert said.

Jennifer Gibson, coordinator of community education for the Island Sexual Health Society, admits the cards likely aren’t for everyone. They are, she says, a way to fight the stigma of a diagnosis.

“That’s where we need to move with sexually transmitted infections because there’s a huge amount of stigma that still exists,” Gibson said. “That’s a major barrier for people getting tested: not even wanting to know because of the stigma attached to it.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: 11th annual Gingerbread Showcase comes to Victoria

Bakers spent more than 100 hours perfecting their creations

Victoria police find fentanyl, cocaine, meth and cash during downtown arrest

VicPD arrested three people on Oct. 30 in a downtown parking lot

Petition calls on province to cover transfer fees after Island adoption centre closes – again

‘Choices clients weren’t told the ship was sinking,’ says would-be parent

VicPD unable to locate suspect following James Bay ‘stalker alert’

Flyers posted around neighbourhood warn of man being followed and a verbal confrontation

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

Most Read