Monday, December 31, 2007

#5-10 in the 2007 Abstinence-Only Countdown

Can you believe it?

5) 16-year-old "Zoe 101" star Jaime Lyn Spears is pregnant and going to have her baby in the deep South. Did she tell her mother first, the dad, or the tabloids?
Washington Post, Dec. 19, 2007

6) JUNO: The new feel-good movie about... a pregnant teenager who decides to go through with the pregnancy, give up the baby for adoption, and keep dating the dad who loves orange tic tacs. Wow! Even her parents were totally cool.
Fox Searchlight, December release


7) MidWest Teen Sex Show: More than 50,000 people subscribe to the new podcast with straight talk about sex for young people. Go Nikol and team (they'll be at our Sex::Tech Conference on January 22, 2008).
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 8, 2007

8) Hip-hop lyrics that celebrate sex have no effect on teen's sexual behavior, researchers from Columbia U. Mailman School of Public Health reported. Carla Stokes (also at our Sex::Tech Conference) decides that's a good thing - and promotes the positive.
Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, Nov. 6, 2007

9) GREAT ideas coming in from young people about how to improve sex ed for the future. Watch the entries to our Fresh Focus Sex Ed Digital Video Contest today!

10) Make a resolution - to make sex ed comprehensive, non-judgemental, and FUN for 2008! We need your help. Make a video for the contest, or come to our conference, or donate your $$ at www.isis-inc.org.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Zoe 101 Needs Sex::Tech 101

I'm sure you've heard by now that Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. She is Zoe, the star of Nickelodeon's popular show, Zoe 101, as well as Britney Spears' sister. She plans to raise the baby in Louisiana, her home state.

AP reporter John Rogers reports that Nickelodeon is considering launching a "Post-Spears Pregnancy Show," with Linda Ellerbee, a veteran newscaster. Ellerbee proposes a broad discussion about youth relationships, including how you know you're in love, the "right" time to have sex, and value systems. Dan Martinsen, the network's spokesperson, said no decision has been made.

Of course, everyone says this story provides the opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about sex. BUT WILL THEY? History shows most parents are uncomfortable talking to their sons and daughters frankly about sex ed.
PARENTS: Try surfing the Web together for information. Have a discussion about what you know to be true, what you learned when you were young, what you learned thru experience... Come to our Sex::Tech Conference -- where researchers, advocates and young people will guide us through the best of the online world for youth.
YOUNG PEOPLE: Make a video! You have till January 7th to submit your version of a better sex ed for the future. Details at DoGooder.tv (www.dogooder.tv/freshfocusvideocontest)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Puffing Our Chests Like Proud Parents!

The Fresh Focus Sex Ed Videos are rolling in and I, for one couldn't be happier. It's the perfect present for the holidays. If I could, I would put it on the mantel next to my new batch of scented holiday candles.

The submitted videos have all been witty and to the point. The video makers are frankly and openly asking for a sex education that is frank and open.
In Sex Education: An Experimentation several experiments are run on high school students to learn how to make sex ed more interesting and relevant. The third experiment is the abstinence box, which is a cardboard box that covers the person's midsection. Unfortunately, the abstinence box makes it impossible to sit down, fit through door ways or pee. The conclusion that these 'sex education scientists' come to is that; people want to know facts and they need these facts so they can prepare for their lives.

There is still time to enter the contest! As we've mentioned before we've extended the deadline to
January 7, 2008. Submit you videos at www.dogooder.tv/freshfocusvideocontest


The following is another Fresh Focus entry example. I'm posting it here because... well, frankly... stick figures fill me with the holiday spirit.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Networking with a View

Save the date! Plan on networking and hobnobbing with public health folks, youth advocates, youth and tech geeks at the top of the JW Marriott on Tuesday, January 22nd. Beverages, appetizers, live spinning by DJ JL, co-sponsored by ISIS, Inc. and the Full Circle Fund.

Full Circle Fund folks are cool. Their party line, "Full Circle Fund is an engaged philanthropy organization cultivating the next generation of community leaders and driving lasting social change in the Bay Area."

But really, they have 4 circles - technology, education, homelessness, and environment, where they donate time, money, and expertise to worthy non-profits, like ISIS. Yes, ISIS and San Francisco Dept. of Public Health won the Full Circle Technology Award in 2007 for SexINFO, our text messaging project for urban youth. And we got to sit in the front row for Al Gore's speech at San Francisco City Hall. Woohoo!

Join us on the 22nd, and meet some great folks.
www.sxtechconference.org
text "contest" to 61827

Monday, December 17, 2007

You asked for time to perfect your entries - Fresh Focus deadline extended!

You can now submit your Fresh Focus Sex Ed Video Contest entries until January 7th! You've asked and we've listened...use your winter break to the fullest.

For inspiration check out a few of the latest entries here. An outstanding one was recently submitted by Antgreen.

This awesome Wed MD article points out that, "it's a lot easier to showcase flaws in sex ed curricula than offer an ideal one." So grab your camera, your phone, your video savvy friends, and tell us what YOU want from sex education.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fries, Toast and Kisses

are but three reasons I love the French.

Another reason to tip our hats to the French is this amazing AIDS awareness campaign. Since I don't speak a lick of French the information I have is a bit spotty and colored by questionable google translations. The campaign seems to have started in 2005 with an animated short called Baby, Baby. The animation chronicles the sexual journey of one woman as she searches for the mythical "one". Along the way she freely experiments with sex and always protects herself. Next in the installment was Sugar Baby Love (which I've embedded below) in 2005 which follows a similar formula except it follows a gay man in search of love. The final installation is Love Stories (2007) and this time the main character is a straight man.



The great thing about all the animations is how condom use is integrated into the act of having sex. There is no awkward discussion, sex and condoms just go together. The animation never shies from its ultimate subject- how to have good and safe sex. Its explicit enough to be entertaining while managing not to show any 'bits and pieces.' (Of course its not perfect, I mean, why does the black internet date have to have a XXXL penis?)

The creators of the campaign, aides.org, have recently created a micro-site that houses all three animations www.touteslesrencontressontpossibles.com.
The site also has a funny chat room function that my lack of French keeps me from fully understanding. What I do know is that I can choose an avatar for myself from an array of undies (I went for briefs) and I could either chat on the beach or in a disco two of my favorite places.

Fresh blogger face for Friday

ISIS has been changing whether you realize or not. Our new program manager, Allegra Madsen, will be guest blogging on Technically, it's About Sex! She's both cooler and nerdier than me and has blog ideas pouring out of her ears...I just can't hold her back any longer. Stay tuned for future sex/tech/health salads she'll concoct.



Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teen birth rates may be rising - Let the "why?" debate rage on

In the Washington Post today, an article by Rob Stein called "Teen Birth Rate Rises in U.S., Reversing 14 Year Decline" ponders just why teen birth rates might be rising. The opinions couldn't be more different.

Is it that abstinence only messages have left our teens without the tools to protect themselves, or is it that condom promotion messages are encouraging increased sexual behavior?

Allegra Madsen, ISIS' new program manager, asked John Santelli, teen health expert at Columbia University, about his thoughts on the new data:

"Multiple social and policy factors are presumably influencing the recent rise in teen birth rates," offered Santelli. "One possibility is a decline in contraceptive use. The 2005 YRBS [Youth risk Behavior Surveillance] data suggests such a decline (a small decrease in condom use and a small increase in non use compared to 2003). One factor that may have contributed to a decline in contraceptive use would be the negative information on condom and contraceptive use that many abstinence only programs include."

Another thing is also clear. This debate is being played out among adults, health professionals, politicians, etc. But what do that teens want? What do they think they need?

The Fresh Focus Sex Ed Video Contest gives young adults (under 30) a chance to say what they want. We're asking film makers to imagine the future of sex ed, and what they think would work better. We're offering a $3500 first place prize, along with a chance to screen their videos at the Sex::Tech Conference in SF on January 22nd.

As I posted yesterday, Jennifer Garner isn't the only one who didn't get any formal sex education, check out the Fresh Focus submissions so far and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Search without belonging - Copenda

I just saw this on one of my favorite blogs, the Online Dating Insider. Copenda allows you to search multiple dating and social sites at the same time. Then you can click over to the interesting profiles on its native site. Pretty cool.

So far the site has indexed over one million profiles. You can search Myspace, Facebook, hi5, Friendster, Match.com and plentyofish. It's really surprising, as the Insider notes, that these sites would open up their networks to a third party. But the bottom line still remains, if you find someone you like, you need to sign up with the original service to actually message them.

It will be interesting to see what methods evolve for being "seen" or being ranked high on the Copenda search results. It's unclear at this point how one gets to the top of the barrel, aside from geographical proximity. Does updating your Match.com profile frequently help here? I dunno.

Also, the people you come up with on Myspace for example, might not be looking for dates. So, the sifting you may need to do is potentially more involved if you're looking for dating specifically.

----
In other news, Jennifer Garner didn't get any sex education, and she's not the only one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Social Site Aggregators - Useful?

Ever take a break at work to check your friends' blogs? Then take another minute to see if any of those new MySpace comments are real? Then another five minutes to upload a few photos of your weekend to Flickr...and before you know it you've forgotten whether your password on Twitter is hotdog1 or 1hotdog and you realize you really should get back to work. Does this happen to you?

I don't have the solution...and perhaps just more to add to the problem. But how can we begin to catalog the multiple profiles, tag collections, photos, podcasts, etc that we all love to consume into one place? And how can we start to realistically digest the media jumbles our friends create?

Well, there are some new options to try. Each has some strengths and some wussiness too. My friend Lauren from Object Adjective (they designed the Sex::Tech website for us) recently reviewed Plaxo Pulse.

Some others are Flock, FriendFeed, ProfileLinker, Fuser, Spokeo and MyLifeBrand.

Flock seems promising. You can access and update many social sites (the usual suspects plus Piczo, del.icio.us, Twitter, etc.). Flock even supports massive (up to 1000) picture uploads. One major downfall is that you have to download it. Alas.

What does this have to do with ISIS and sex you ask? Well, I'm not entirely sure, however, we have this contest called Fresh Focus. To promote the contest we have MySpace pages, a Flickr account, a couple of blogs, friends and colleagues that blog about us, press releases, emails coming in, emails going out, podcast promos, youtube videos...you get the idea. How can we manage all this stuff, even with a stellar cast of 6? We're working on finding the best way.

Happy Turkey everyone, if you do that sort of thing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pick your pleasure, the Sex::Tech Program is up!

You've all been waiting, and I'm happy to be able to say that the Sex::Tech program has been posted!

We are thrilled to be offering attendees two full days of diverse expert presenters ready to share their projects and ideas!

View Day 1 - January 22nd
It's going to be a tough call between panels, but you have to choose! We had so many amazing submissions that we had to stack them up pretty tight.

View Day 2 - January 23rd
Our keynote on the second day will be a discussion with Anastasia Goodstein of YPulse and a yet to be announced technology guest, moderated by technology writer Janet Kornblum of USA Today!


Two important reminders:

1. Book your hotel room at the JW Marriott for January 21st and 22nd. We cannot accommodate everyone. The government rate will vanish in to thin air December 31st.

2. Sign up for Sex::Tech updates on Twitter. Find us here. During the actual conference we may use Twitter as crowd control so don't be left out!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fresh Focus buzz ... controversy and excitement!

The Fresh Focus Sex Ed Video Contest, a joint effort between ISIS and RH Reality Check, is making some waves...and we don't expect things to calm down before the videos premier at Sex::Tech!

Andy Carvin, internet activist, education technology expert and host of Learning.now, highlighted us in his article titled Social Media vs. Social Diseases. He brings up some very interesting issues and elaborates on one of our main goals, which is to let the young people who have the greatest need for frank sex education tell us exactly what they need:

"I’m so intrigued by this project, because it’s basically accepting the premise that students will likely participate on their own time, far away from the classroom, since that’s the only way for them to be frank and open about the issues. They want students to talk about a particular curriculum, but do an end-run around the entire educational system, using the Internet to engage students without interference by teachers or administrators."

Andy also reviews some of our current submissions (which you can watch here).

In related news, our Sex::Tech keynote hosts, creators of the Midwest Teen Sex Show, were just featured in the Wall Street Journal in an awesome article by Andrew LaVallee. The article discusses the satirical nature vs. educational value of the show, two things that aren't necessarily in opposition to each other. Ultimately a great article!

The podcast is No.7 in the Health category on iTunes with 50,000 subscribers. Way to go MTSS!

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Excuse me, did you just grope me?"

A Japanese cell phone application released in 2005 to help women fend off gropers on trains has risen to the No. 7 spot on phone application lists.

I can't seem to find any images of what the messages look like, but it goes like this:
1. You're being groped on a crowded train and you can't move.
2. You show the person grabbing you the first message in the series which reads "excuse me, did you just grope me?"
3. If they continue you can press the "anger" button and your phone ramps up the message to "Groping is a crime." The last message is "Shall we head to the police."

This comment thread is interesting/infuriating/funny.


I read about it in the SF Chronicle. The author is Hiroko Tabuchi.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nikol and Britney will be at Sex::Tech!

Check the promo video from Midwest Teen Sex Show. Nikol and Britney will be at Sex::Tech in January to present the finalists and winners of the Fresh Focus Sex Ed Video Contest.

video

We have gotten several video submissions already...check them out and plan your own!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blogger sex ??

So, a great blog I just found is Boinkology, edited by Lux Nightmare who offers "the sex ed you never got in school." Several clicks in I found this clip about "blogger sex." No, this is not about commenting back and forth or cybersex...the question is, if you are a blogger, do you blog about your first date with someone (or the first time you do it with them)? ...and the converse, if you are dating a blogger, should you worry that the word is already on the street?

Just some Friday fun. Scroll down to "blogger sex" and enjoy.



My thought is, if really like your new person, and you really can't resist, you'll write something very nice that you actually want them to find. If you don't like them, just remember the golden rule?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Youth Radio covers sexual health issues

Youth Radio offers media training to youth ages 14-17 to promote young people's intellectual and creative growth. Involved youth have access to industry professionals and get to participate in the production of award winning programming.

Youth Radio programming covers just about everything of interest to young adults. Here is a small taste of some of their STD, HIV and Sex Ed programming.

Get Tested

Shooting Down HPV


Latinos and AIDS

Changing the Course of Sex Education

To get involved as a youth check out these options.
To learn about supporting Youth Radio and their new expanded offices check out the Support Us page. A $200 donation provides field staff with recording equipment, and $50 provides teachers with supplies for after school tutoring.

Stay tuned to find out how Youth Radio may work with ISIS to report on the Sex::Tech conference.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Deb rocks on Real Life Real Talk radio

Deb Levine, ISIS Executive Director and founder, joined Real Life Real Talk yesterday for a radio interview. Check out Deb as she talks about ISIS' growth, inSPOT expansion, issues with verifying sex information online, and about the upcoming Sex::Tech conference and Fresh Focus Video Contest.

Check it out here. Go Deb!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fresh Focus: Sex Ed Video Contest has launched!

Internet Sexuality Information Services and RH Reality Check in conjunction with Dogooder.tv present the Fresh Focus: Sex Ed Video Contest. You could win a $3500 scholarship or cash equivalent just for making a video about sex! Videos -3 minutes tops- should be submitted to DoGooder.tv by December 31st, 2007 and should follow one of two contest themes:

Theme 1: Share your sex ed experience so far. Show us how and why it sucked or rocked.

Theme 2: Redesign how sex ed could be delivered. Imagine that anything is possible.

Voting will begin on January 4th. The winning videos will premier at the Sex::Tech Conference: Focus on Youth, taking place January 22-23, 2008 at SFSU's Institute for Next Generation Internet in San Francisco to an audience of health professionals, youth activists, educators and tech wizards!

First place wins a $3500 scholarship to the educational institution of your choice (or cash equivalent) and a free trip to San Francisco to attend the conference; second place wins $1000 cash; and third prize is your choice of a Nikon P5000, a Nintendo Wii or an iPhone. Content and creative vision will be weighed more heavily than production quality. Film makers must be between the ages of 15-30. See the official rules for more details.

Check out our contest partners:
Advocates For Youth
ISIS-Inc
RH Reality Check
NSRC
SIECUS

Snag the press release HERE.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Free (and informative) geek rags - from the CDC

A little known fact is that MMWR (CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) is free and you can sign up and have it sent to your inbox every week!

It sounds morbid, yes, but it is a great resource, with links to full length articles, podcasts and delicious statistics. So it doesn't always have sexual health related articles. An sample of what came this week:
"QuickStats: Death rates from poisoning, By State, United States 2004"
OR
"Ocular and Respiratory Illnesses Associated with an Indoor Swimming Pool, Nebraska 2006"

But several weeks back was this gem:
"QuickStats: Percentage of Adults aged >18 Years Who Reported Ever Being Tested for Human Immuno Deficiency Virus..."

To sign up for your free subscription, just name and email needed, go here.

Now, if you're really into infectious diseases (like me), you might want to read Emerging Infectious Diseases. This is also a free CDC publication and you can have it sent to your house in full glossy glory. Sign up here.

I look forward to it every month.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

OKcupid - quiz mania

So I randomly took an OKCupid quiz the other day. And after that I took another and another -- very addicting. The cool part is that after you take one, you can see other people who have taken them as well, their profiles on OKCupid, etc. So here it is in all it's glory, The Dating Personality Test.

The result you ask? I'm The Bachelor. The Deliberate Gentle Sex Master (DGSM). My exact dating opposite is appropriately "The Manchild," of the Random Brutal Love Dreamer (RBLD).

Some sample questions include:
"Would you rather get caught masturbating by your mother or your father?"
OR
"You're in a serious, loving relationship, and your mate asks for a threesome. You are more...
Offended?
Relieved?

There is also a "The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test." I'm a pure nerd. See isn't this fun?

Online Dating Insider provides a closer look at the quiz algorithm and question asking philosophy, which yes you guessed it, is much different from eHarmony's. OkCupid is also developing a new app for Facebook which will no doubt multiply their marketing potential.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Safe Sex Fridays - Your own baby unicorn

So, first I will thank Boingboing and the Second Life Herald for handing me the perfect Safe Sex Fridays tidbit of silliness. In Safe Sex Fridays I like to give a little example of something sex related, that you may not have seen/wanted to see before, and that's safe. One time I shared some videos of people dry humping couches and another time I told you about the Masturbate-a-thon.

Now you can have your very own baby unicorn in Second Life, BUT you have to have sex with an adult unicorn (which is really not safe in real life, and actually might not even be fun virtually).

But aren't they cute? For the birds and the bees diagrams go here. The comment thread on the Herald article reeks of disapproval, which is interesting to see given that Second Life is one of the only places available to have sex with a unicorn (if you so choose).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Manhunt places official badges on health profiles

Manhunt.net, the longtime hookup site darling of public health STD control departments, has launched a new idea. I think I like this one. In an email sent out to "Health and Outreach Partner[s]," health liaison Shaun Lord says,

"In an effort to both promote and certify that our site's health related profiles are legitimate, we are excited to inform you that we have created a standardized 'Manhunt Cares' logo that will be used for all health and outreach profiles. No action is required on your part. We will be uploading this logo onto the primary picture space of each profile over the next couple of weeks..."

A touch of background: health departments and community organizations have been allowed to have outreach and partner notification (PN) profiles on Manhunt. These have had various degrees of success as the rules for online PN are still somewhat hazy, outreach volunteers are not always properly trained, and users approached by health profiles do not readily trust that they are legit. However, when used professionally, folks who may need to test are nudged to do so, etc.

So here's why I like this:
1. Standardized health profiles may be easier to trust. Users already have at least some trust for Manhunt itself.
2. Outreach and partner notification profiles will be separated (at least I hope so). This is important since the two tasks have very different goals that are not always clear to the person being approached, and they also have different laws they must abide by.
3. May help outreach worker conduct stay within the lines of legit work. There have been problems in the past with outreach workers soliciting members they are hired to 'help.' The more official they look, the more official they will (hopefully) act.

Here are some of my questions/hopes:
1. In placing these new logos on outreach and PN, will each profile's parent organization be verified? Are they doing what they are there to do?
2. Can this verification help weed out the overlap so that Manhunt isn't overly saturated with health profiles that aren't being used, but rather are just sitting there?
3. Can these two activities be defined somewhere so that users can have some standardized information about what the goals of health dept. online activities are?

Regardless, I'm interested to see how this impacts online partner notification success on Manhunt. Nice work!

Update: Thanks to Mark Brooks for sharing this interesting interview with Manhunt's chairman of the board.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gov't attack on adult social networking freedoms!

The following is a partial repost from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

The federal government is proposing regulations that would effectively kill adult social-networking sites. This is being done under the guise of fighting child pornography. You have until September 10 to object to these regulations. It’s easy to do and essential. A sample e-mail comment is at the bottom of this page. Please forward this information to your friends!
What’s the Deal?

The Department of Justice is proposing regulations to implement a federal law designed to combat child pornography, known as Section 2257. The law was first enacted in 1998 and was amended in 2006 and significantly expanded to include regulation of the Internet.

While many of the regulations pertain to companies that produce adult entertainment magazines and videos (and are extremely burdensome), they would also affect anyone who uses an adult social-networking site. Here’s how:

* The regulations would require the people running a site to get and maintain personal information from every user (that means you) who posts a “sexually explicit” photo, including your photo ID (driver’s license, passport, or military ID).
* The regulations would allow the Attorney General to conduct warrantless searches at will on the sites’ records, including your personal information.
* There are few safeguards over what the FBI can do with the information it obtains.
* If a site operator fails to comply with the regulations, he or she would face a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
* For more detailed information on Sec. 2257, go to the task force fact sheet.

Obviously, none of this has anything to do with child pornography. Instead, it is a blatant attempt to end the ability of consenting adults to use adult social-networking sites to meet other people for sex. Obviously, if these regulations go into effect, they will kill this industry.
What You Can Do

The Department of Justice has published these proposed regulations and the public has until September 10 to comment on them.

We need to generate thousands of comments objecting to the proposed regulations – and it’s easy to do via e-mail. Just follow the instructions below...
____________________

A sample letter addressed to the U.S. Department of Justice is provided on the bottom of this link. The fact that the Justice Dept. can't handle increasing the prison population will hopefully save us from this grand save-the-children idea. Jeeez, what next? You can always join Playboy's new social networking site (college only) that surprisingly shows little skin.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Podcast interviews: The stars of ISSTDR '07

I'm a little tardy with this one, but in early August Eric Whitney, ISIS' associate director, had the pleasure of going to the ISSTDR (International Society for STD Research) conference this year in Seattle. In this podcast interview Eric highlights the Sex::Tech conference (coming soon in January '08) as well as our tried and true, Inspot. Yay Eric.

Here are the stellar voices of Doug Richardson from the Denver Public Health Department and Rachel Kachur from the CDC discussing the early days of the STD and Internet Center of Excellence (a Sex::Tech sponsor) and the future of mobile prevention tools.

In this podcast, Don Clark, director of NCSD, bring us up to speed with national efforts to integrate HIV/STD/TB/Hep, STD funding fights in Washington and the state of the internet guidelines project of which two chapters may be released this fall at the annual NCSD meeting in New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The robot reel in

Coming back to work after a long vacation is never easy. So, while I haven't done many useful things in the last day or so, my co-workers certainly have. Check out one of our new youth oriented Sex::Tech Conference flyers.

Behold the LoveBot:
We are currently accepting abstracts and registration is still in the "early bird" zone.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Summer assignments from ISIS-Inc.

The ISIS blog will be temporarily slowed down/inactive for the next three weeks because I'll be in India eating spicy food, battling the monsoon and taking train rides across the southern states.

So for now, I leave you with a short list of my favorite to-do suggestions:

1. ATTEND! We are now accepting abstracts for the January 2008 Sex::Tech conference which will focus on technology based STD and HIV prevention for youth and young adults. Currently you can register, submit an abstract, and tell a friend about the conference using our e-card. Stay tuned in the fall for more about our video contest which is sure to make a splash.

2. WATCH! The Midwest Teen Sex Show currently has three episodes, and serves up raucous commentary about such important issues as "The older boyfriend," "Abstinence," and "Masturbation." The site is for teens and adults and guaranteed to make you laugh/smile/crinkle your forehead. The comment threads are particularly great.

3. VOTE! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is running a revolutionary grantmaking contest focused on "disruptive innovations" designed to change the way health care is delivered. Voting for the final twelve will start in mid August. ISIS has submitted a proposal to get additional funding to expand STDtest.org, a service allowing people access to free STD and HIV testing. in San Francisco. Whether expanding STDtest.org makes the cut or not, aid this unique process and vote for your favorites!

4. EXPERIMENT! See what Cory Silverberg's sex position dolls, appropriately named A and B, are up to. You may find something nice to try.

5. COUNT! Securely keep track of who you've been having sex with using MyBlackBook.org. You can save contact information and details of the fun time you had, which will come in handy if you are ever diagnosed with an STI and need to notify your past partners. InSPOT.org, a peer to peer notification system, can help you take the leap.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

STDtest.org will challenge STD & HIV testing norms

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently threw a wrench in their grantmaking process with the advent of the Changemakers supported open source competition titled: Disruptive Innovations in Health and Health Care: Solutions people want.

ISIS has entered a proposal to expand STDtest.org to include gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and herpes in addition to syphilis. STDtest.org will allow people to receive FREE STD and HIV testing by printing out a lap slip, going to a local test site and then retrieving results online. HIV results will be given over the phone. The service smashes barriers to sexual health care that many people experience...those who cannot afford basic tests or those who rather not speak to a doctor about their history will have access to the tests they need in order to know their STD and HIV status.

Please comment on the ISIS / STDtest.org proposal to keep the dialog going and attract attention to this crucial "disruption technology."

So far there are 150 amazing entries from 23 countries all aimed at transforming health care and health care delivery through technology. The entry period ends tomorrow (last chance to comment on the entries), followed by a four period week period where the finalists are narrowed down to 12. Then there will be a two week period ending Aug 29 with the announcement of the winners. $5,000 will be given to three winners, with the potential of 5 million dollars for the project(s) with the most potential impact.

Help make STDtest.org a winner!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Join us at Sex::Tech in 2008

ISIS is excited to announce the first conference focusing on technology and HIV/STD prevention for youth! Co-hosted by SFSU's National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC) and Institute for Next Generation Internet (INGI).

When: January 22-23, 2008 Downtown San Francisco
Why: To re-focus technology based prevention efforts for youth in exciting new ways!
Who: Sex::Tech 2008 will bring together young people as well as public health professionals, researchers, teachers, writers, tech industry folks and many more!

We are currently accepting abstracts and workshop proposals.

The conference is limited to 300 attendees, so make your move and register now! To guarantee a youthful presence, we're offering full-time students and people 25 and younger the stellar registration rate of 20 bucks!

Visit SXTechconference.org for full details, and tell a friend about Sex::Tech using our e-card feature.

Shareideas.org - mobile technologies / social change

SEXINFO, ISIS' groundbreaking text based referral service for youth has been prominently featured on Shareideas.org. Shareideas is a wiki (supported by Nokia and Vodafone) that chronicles mobile communication innovations being used for social and environmental change.

Please feel free to comment on the SEXINFO wiki entry.

Initially when I went to edit the entry it blocked me because the word 'sex' was used. Needless to say, this issue has been resolved. Phew!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

MyBlackBook popularity grows

I blogged this a while back, but it is really nice to see MyBlackBook catching on. 2032+ people have signed up to keep track of their sex lives. The site makes its purpose very clear:

"What happens if you find out you have an STD? How do you know who to notify? Well, some people, both male and female keep track of whom they have slept with either in a little diary or notebook. However, this has always posed a security flaw - what if someone finds it?? Well, MyBlackBook has solved that problem by creating The Internet's First Secure and Confidential Online Sexual History Tracker!"


It's free to sign up, and easy to add an entry or session. The pull down menus are pretty rigid in some categories (like you have to be male or female and either straight, bi or gay), but the each entry also gives plenty of room for embellishing, including over a dozen "activities" to select that you tried and also nearly a dozen sexual positions to choose from.

Two extra features stand out on this site.

1. VDNote provides a risk assessment as a percent chance that you will acquire each listed STI based on your personal entries. After entering one fictitious unprotected encounter where I "had anal sex" I had a 2.91% chance of getting herpes, 0.01% chance of getting syphilis, etc. Therhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gife is a disclaimer, which I was relieved to see. I think the idea might help some realize their risk for STIs in general, but cannot paint a realistic picture of what to worry about. The site also does not mention HIV/AIDS.

2. Graphs provide a visual representation of your monthly sexual activity, hourly sexual activity (as in do you do it at night or in the morning?) and a pie chart of the sexual positions that you do. If these were constructed differently, or addressed different aspects of the sex you're having, then they could be better risk management tools. As they are now, they might just state the obvious right back to you. For example: yes I like 'reverse cowgirl' and yes, I like it in the morning.

The forums hold some gems, but the site could really pack a punch if they also talked about what to do with all the saved info if/when you do get an STI. I am making the suggestion to them. This is their chance to reach this particular record-keeping group.

Check out the press release.

Update: MyBlackBook now links to InSPOT.org. Yay!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Massmen vlogger shows some skin

Daniel, a Massmen blogger known for his chronicle of non-monogamy struggles and recovery from long distance hell, is taking a step by using video blogging for the first time. Meet Victor and hear a little about their trip to Montreal in this first episode:


Nico the Great, another blogger of ours, recently sero-converted. Lately he has been challenged by people with age assumptions and has been frustrated with guys' takes on online status disclosure.
Read: Age is deceiving? and Newbie HIV+ vs. Seasoned HIV+.

Friday, June 29, 2007

We're checking IDs at the door

Based on the fact that this blog has the following words:
sex (28x) Orgasm (3x) Porn (2x) Gay (1x)

Like Babeland (thanks again Dallas) we are rated NC-17


I guess it doesn't matter that it didn't find all the other really dirty words like "anal" and "leatherdaddy" and "Plan B" and "kink" and "Rupert Murdoch."

ISIS-inc.org, on the other hand, is rated G. because the word sex appears once. huh?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Press the space bar! Yes! No Stop!

Game makers, La Molleindustria, are making some interesting games. Well, one very interesting, and the others...well, I haven't decided. If Operation Pedopriest is a baby jesus buttplug, then Queer Power and Orgasm Stimulator are a couple of bachelorette party gifts.


Operation Pedopriest

Despite being hard on the eyes, this game makes it's point - secrecy is not going to solve anything. Based on the Vatican's "secret procedures" to catch "pedopriests," the maddening game playing experience serves only to frustrate and disgust the player. But make no mistake, this is a serious game, albeit with little wide-eyed children. Ian Bogost digs a little deeper...thanks Ian....I agree, although fascinating, this is pretty much a lose-lose.

Queer Power
Umm...this one might have kept my attention for a full twenty seconds if I had played the two player version. Basically, the intro text, "...enjoy a trip into the odd world," was a bit off putting, but switching whenever you want between bodies...now that's a nice touch. The idea is to sex up your partner (changing genders whenever you want) until one partner comes. The sound effects make it worth a try.

Orgasm Stimulator
Fake an orgasm and don't let your partner know they suck in bed. Pfft!!

The sound effects make this one not worth a try.

Update: Molleindustria has posted notice that they have removed Pedopriest after an order from the Italian Parliament cited a law stating that it is illegal to depict sex with children. New and interesting reviews are surfacing all the time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Trojan too sloppy for conservative-owned TV

Thanks to Babeland and NSRC for keeping us in the loop on this one. The new Trojan condom ads are not being aired on CBS and FOX because they are "inappropriate" and focus on pregnancy prevention rather than STIs. As far as I can tell, the ad doesn't address STIs or pregnancy - just not wanting to sleep with "pigs."


Sign this Planned Parenthood petition asking CBS and FOX to reconsider their stodgy position. Then send it to friends.

Here's another one, just for fun.


Update: The pig ad does run on Myspace however, which is funny considering it is also owned by Rupert Murdoch and friends.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ask the Experts -National HIV Testing Day

National HIV testing day is June 27th. The Kaiser Family Foundation and Kaisernetwork.org will host an "Ask the Experts" webcast to discuss the revised HIV testing recommendations, public education campaigns, and new data from NASTAD.

When: Tuesday, June 26th, 3PM ET
Where: On their website
Who: There will be four panelists -
  • Jill Braden Balderas, M.P.H. - Managing Editor for Kaisernetwork.org - Moderator
  • Murray Penner - Deputy Executive Director, Domestic Programs NASTAD
Ask questions before the program starts (or during if you get a late blooming idea) by emailing Ask @ Kaisernetwork dot org.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Socialverse - potentially yelp meets SL

Socialverse is a new networking tool that is not quite be off its feet yet, but I see some potential for creativity. Basically you've got an avatar who can roam through several cities on earth. Businesses, schools, hospitals, etc., which exist in real life, are located along the streets and these can be reviewed/updated/slightly modified by anyone.

My idea was to explore if Socialverse could be a place where public health clinics and testing sites list them selves and then are open to public review just like the rest of the businesses. Of course there's Yelp for this as well, but the map integration is nice. If you go up to a business, perhaps a representative could (sometimes) be there to tell you more about it using the chat function?

Socialverse is in beta (very much so), so there are issues. Mainly, things needs to be able to be individualized. I couldn't tweak my avatar much or change my clothes. Also, a lot of the buildings look the same. There would have to be a critical mass contributing to the building of cities to really get this going. Also, the purpose is a bit nebulous. Would I go here to find out about cafes in my neighborhood, or to chat with other avatars also wearing blue jeans and white t-shirts?

Here is a basic demo:


When I mentioned my clinic idea to Chad from Socialverse he said: "If you have any suggestions for features that you think of, particularly those that could be of benefit for clinics, please let me know and we'd be more than happy to work with you or anyone else in your industry to try and implement them. We have created Socialverse to be very flexible as to what it can support, including a complex "class" based system of "things" and "places". For example, in Socialverse a "clinic" is a class. And we can custom tailor each class to fit the particular informational and service needs of that class or industry."

I guess we can wait and see.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Television touches (briefly) sex in Second Life

I'm handing over some giant bravery points to Bonnie Ruberg of Bonnie's Heroine Sheik and Jean-Ann Mills from The Electric Sheep Company for standing their ground on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliette (a Fox News affiliate), who are really good at acting like virtual sex is the weirdest thing since jam on pizza.

The show touches on the issue of rape in virtual worlds as well as some details about virtual privates and doin' it.

Watch the Video

Monday, June 11, 2007

Games for Change & Interactive Nights Out

I've been reading Ian Bogost's live blog from the Games for Change Festival, taking place in New York yesterday and today.

Day 1
Day 2

Being in the sexual health/STD & HIV prevention world, I'm naturally searching for games and ideas with that sort of slant. This live blog is super helpful for getting an idea of the gaming-for-social-good groups and what their collective thoughts/disagreements look like.

Update: my other reliable videogame resource is also writing about this. Please see Sexy Videogameland and Gamasutra for more thoughtful coverage of Games for Change.

On a semi related note: earlier today I was forwarded this link (thanks Rachel) to a program/game called Interactive Nights Out 1 and 2. The synopsis begins as follows:

"Interactive Nights Out 1™ (INO1™) helps 17-25 year-olds make informed choices about HIV/AIDS, STDs, pregnancy, relationships, alcohol and other drugs. Players become the lead character in both male and female-centered movies, make choices for the characters, and witness the consequences of their decisions."

Has anyone played this yet? The mega roadblock for me is that you have to buy a license. The conditions of use are a bit stiff at $3,200. The idea seems to be that an organization buys it and installs it on a common computer at a convenient location for youth?

Adult Industry Medical - Testing the talent

An excerpt from a Kink.com casting call for their new site Leatherdaddy.com reads:
"* 4 hour shoot at $1200
* Male / male bondage, S&M, and sex
* Heavy leather and rope restraints
* Anal sex (w/ condom), blow jobs, adjusted to comfort level
* Dominant / submissive role play
* We require valid AIM (Adult Industry Medical) tests of all our talent. These test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV. Talent must re-test every 30 days. [I added the link]."

Read more about what is required/recommended of adult industry performers here (pdf). Or check out the list of available tests, prices etc. The tests can be paid for with paypal, a slip generated and brought to participating clinics, and results handed over by secure internet connection or phone. This is a lot cheaper than Checktonight.com (see comments) which takes a large cut from their testing fees. Read Wired's coverage of the service too.

The general rule for performers seems to be HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea testing every 30 days, and syphilis, herpes, TB, giardia, vaginosis, etc. every 6 months.

It's unclear how strict testing is enforced and I'm sure that it varies from agency to agency whether it's paid for or not.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Linden Labs and Second Life - Scapegoated

Second Life, SL for short, is under fire once again for providing a platform for people's fantasies (thanks to PixelPulse, GamePolitics, Bonnie and Regina for info). Familles de France have sued the Linden Labs, and in response a statement was issued listing their intended self policing ideals.

So from now on (yeah right) there will be a new age verification system, and "real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors; real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual violence including rape, real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of extreme or graphic violence, and other broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life."

Statement goes on to say:

"Please help us to keep Second Life a safe and welcoming space by continuing to notify Linden Lab about locations in-world that are violating our Community Standards regarding broadly offensive and potentially illegal content. Our team monitors such notification 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. Individuals and groups promoting or providing such content and activities will be swiftly met with a variety of sanctions, including termination of accounts, closure of groups, removal of content, and loss of land. It’s up to all of us to make sure Second Life remains a safe and welcoming haven of creativity and social vision."

Is sexual expression not part of creativity and social vision? pfft.

There is definitely conduct/content that can offend and hurt other players in real life. SL is not utopian, but how can anyone expect it to be? It is built and expanded by players from around the world. So what should members of Familles de France do when they stumble upon a leather vested avatar enjoying the virtual whipping of a life time? Duck into a virtual church perhaps?

And I admit I'm not involved in Second Life, so I'm curious...consenting situations aside, can avatars escape unwanted touching and abuse on this game's platform or can your character become under the control of others? I know some games work this way and rapes and other assaults have happened. Does SL operate like that? You tell me.

Update: I found a great blog about virtual laws. Here is some excellent commentary on this sticky SL issue.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

inSPOT adds FL, NYC, MN, Seattle and Toronto

We've been busy at ISIS that last few months replicating inSPOTs, our peer to peer online partner notification system for STIs and HIV.

New to the list are Florida, New York City, Minnesota, Seattle and Toronto.

For those of you unfamiliar with inSPOT, the service has two main features.
1. If you test positive for an STI or HIV, you can send an e-card, anonymous or not, to your partner(s) who you may have exposed.
2. The e-card recipient is linked directly to a map of local clinics and detailed information about the infectious agent that they may have been exposed to.

What does it take to make an inSPOT you ask?
  • We verify every clinic's hours of operation, location, services, fees, populations served, insurance details and tests offered by phone to make sure that it is up to date and reliable for e-card recipients (or anyone who uses inSPOT to locate a clinic).
  • We create a custom map searchable by zip code/postal code, county/province and by region.
  • We compile an area specific resource list for each new area.
  • Other tech-y details of course
Will the list keep growing?
  • There are 5 more in the pipes. Your area may be next.
It is important to understand that the e-cards can be used by anyone in any jurisdiction. For the recipient not located in a city/state there are alternative ways to find clinics in your area.

In CA, the California Family Health Council (CFHC) list title X clinics searchable by zip code. Title X is the only federal program devoted to provision of family planning and reproduction health care. Title X clinics provide patient education and counseling; breast and pelvic exams; STD, HIV and cervical cancer screenings; and pregnancy counseling and diagnosis.

For STI testing outside of CA, if title X status doesn't matter to you, or if you rather talk to a person call the CDC hotline:

(800) 342-2437 or (800) 227-8922 for English,

(800) 344-7432 for Spanish or

(800) 243-7889 for TTY service.

The wait isn't that long and I got three reliable clinic referrals when I called.

For HIV testing:
HIVTest.org is the CDCs HIV testing clinic finder. Searchable by city, county, state, zip code, and type of testing offered (oral, anonymous, confidential, free). Very comprehensive.

Friday, June 1, 2007

CheckTonight.com - hookup insurance?

CheckTonight.com is hooking up with online dating sites to provide negative test result verification. Well, so far, the list of participating sites isn't that impressive (Atomicmen being the biggest). While the move to do this among dating sites is good, there are some definite issues. It is also a bit disappointing that the group taking this plunge seems to vilify, if only slightly, anyone who may already be positive, with the prominent text: "Show You Tested Negative for HIV and Optionally Other STDs." It also offers zero mention of window periods.

Here's what signing up was like for me:
1. First join a lesser known hookup site (ha!)
2. Register at CheckTonight.com. (which includes downloading and faxing a HIPAA form).
3. Find a suitable place to get tested (you can use their search tool, or see a private doc).
4. If you choose one of the Labcorp testing sites, pick which tests you want. Here's the kicker for the insurance-less:
Full panel: HIV, herpes, Hepc, chlamydia, gonnorhea, syphilis $369!!Or you can choose specific ones. Syphilis alone is the cheapest at $32, chlamydia/gonorrhea is $174. And so on...
5. Then sign another HIPAA form releasing CheckTonight.com to receive your test results. (It's okay for minors to use the service, but an adult is supposed to sign the form, electronically though).
6. Enter credit card info, billing address.
7. I didn't go any further...but you get the point. A lot of steps.

Here's the list of steps in their words.

So what is promised after your test results are faxed back to CheckTonight.com?
1. Positive results are not kept or posted anywhere. A nice list of resources are given.
2. Negative results receive a badge (including test date) that can be posted on a very select list of dating sites, or a social networking site that accepts html (I'm assuming that it is a basic html badge).


So, my two cents are:
Can the badges be stolen, doctored and repasted elsewhere?
Why not encourage HIV+ folks to test for STDs?

I would love to hear comments about this from readers...

Update: Atomicmen has gone out on a limb to try something that some of us in public health have been asking for for a long time. Checktonight is imperfect, but Atomicmen's attitude and willingness to improve is on target:

"...CheckTonight ... is willing to work with Atomicmen on making the site more friendly so any feedback is welcome. I appreciate all feedback and knowledge and would encourage anyone to help in the education of those who are not understanding of anyones "fears", but that door swings both ways. I think that direct reaction to something with out investigation can also be fear based and should allow for the passing back and forth of ideas to make sites like CheckTonight more approachable to those who seem offended. Andrew at CheckTonight is willing to work with organizations to make his organization more open and honest in it's presentation..."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dotmen.net - man hunting tools of the future

The STOP AIDS Project, a San Francisco fixture since 1985, is dedicated to preventing HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men. Yesterday marked the launch of their new website Dotmen.net.

Feeding off their recent realignment towards a more structural approach, Dotmen.net provides tools for finessing your online hunt, tips for staying safe when hooking up (including from identity theft and muggings), and commentary about trends and language in the hookup world.

Hookinguponline.org, an older ISIS project, is decidedly less gadget based, and offers hookup safety gems in brief a slide show. The site was an adaptation from image-based print materials, which speaks to the image based presentation.

Regardless of approach, both sites aim to help folks who hookup online make better choices. For the more tech savvy crowd, increased search capability could help you find the sharpest needle in the haystack. For the cruisers without a minute to spare, Hookinguponline.org has all the tidbits you need to keep you on your toes.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Safe Sex Fridays - Masturbate-a-thon

Time is running out to get in on the ninth annual Masturbate-a-thon May 26th, 2007 at the Porn Palace in San Francisco. Why you ask? The Center for Sex and Culture lays it out:
  • Masturbation is the safest sex
  • More masturbation means more sexual self-awareness
  • Masturbation with a partner can be educational and hot
Be a masturbater or a spectator or just celebrate at home. Either way this event is guaranteed to be a great start to the holiday weekend.

Cory Silverberg had a chat with organizers Carol Queen and Robert Morgan Lawrence to see just what the last nine years have brought us. Also check out this list of the best masturbation scenes from mainstream movies.