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

City of Victoria to hold formal safety review after man was left hanging from raised bridge

More and more people seen ignoring safety measurements in place, city staff say

Active police incident in Langford prompts police to request nearby residents stay inside

West Shore RCMP ask public to avoid Station Avenue and Peatt Road area

Nanaimo man wanted Canada-wide after walking away from Victoria halfway house

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Sixties Scoop settlement tour stops in Victoria

The information session takes place on July 24 at the Sandman Hotel

Victoria Police issue warning after man left dangling from raised Johnson Street Bridge

A man bypassed safety measures and became stranded as the bridge lifted

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

POLL: Do you use a food delivery app?

With modern life becoming more hectic with each passing day and so… Continue reading

Vancouver Island teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students, parents

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Most Read