Thursday, March 29, 2007

SEXINFO wins a Techie from!

SEXINFO, ISIS-Inc's (with SF DPH support) San Francisco-based text messaging service for youth, has won a Techie from Our prize you ask? We get a $1000 travel scholarship to attend the Non-profit Technology Conference in DC next week, promotional space on both the NTEN and websites, and a sculpture! We will also be showcasing along with SEXINFO at the Innovations Plaza during the conference, handing out other project related print materials, giving SEXINFO and InSPOT demonstrations, and handing out condoms.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Micro-geo-insta-bloggers meet Prevention

Is there a use for microblogging tools in Public Health, particularly STD and HIV prevention? What can we come up with?

There's Yellow Arrow: "...a global creative community making a new M.A.A.P. (massively authored artistic publication) of the world." In basic terms, Yellow Arrow links a physical places with a virtual messages that are accessible to anyone with mobile text capability.

IDEA: Rachel Kachur, CDC, says: "I can imagine using this for an STD awareness campaign. Anywhere there is a yellow arrow with a certain code, people call the number, enter the code and get an STD message. 'If you are sexually active, your chances of having chlamydia are 1 in 4. Get tested.' Something like that. We could do a campaign on a college campus and see if it increases testing..."

There's Twitter: a new way to answer the question " what are you doing right now?" by text or computer and then have it broadcast to the web and to others' phones in your network.

IDEA: What are you doing right now? "Downloading a syphilis test." "Asking Dr. K a question." "Sending an InSPOT card." Would people share this info?

There's Dodgeball: I blogged it before. Basically Dodgeball relays texts to as many people as you want or alerts you by text when you are physically close to a "crush" or a "friend's friend."

IDEA: Could a location notify you when you are near IT? Rather than a person setting off your text alert, could you get a message when you are near a bowl of free condoms or a test site? I guess it's possible if there were a phone sitting in the bottom of the bucket or in the pocket of a test counselor.

There's (not a blog per se. More like a really bright idea): Laughing Squid said it best, Metroblogging said it next.

IDEA: Justin has been living on streaming video for 8 days now. You can text in what you'ld like to see Justin do. Maybe Justin should text the word SEXINFO to 61827 and show us all what happens. ... there's a lot of people watching. I'm going to ask him. Check in to see if he does it.

There's vlogging in general:

IDEAs: ?

Let's brainstorm. Public health and STD/HIV prevention does not have to live behind the curve.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Is it that you are a Married/Felon?

Check this NYtimes article if you can. Straight dating service, thinks it's pretty special. Their politics don't really matter because people can use whatever damn site they want to hookup, however, they're pretty popular (rivalling and yahoo personals), they're using sticky marketing tricks to make a lot of money, and they say that they contribute to online dating safety when they actually don't (because anyone can fake it).

My criticisms are brief. True brags that they "prosecute felons and marrieds." First of all, even if you are "separated" or have a pending divorce, forget about finding any True hotties. Second, what if you have negotiated with your husband/wife/registered spouse that it's okay to get in other people's beds, even the beds of other marrieds? Answer: find another dating pool (which will be cheaper than the 50 bucks a months True charges).

Okay, the felon part is really disturbing. I can understand some of the rationale behind corporate types wanting to cover their asses by booting folks from their site with sexual offenses, but what if you are a robber, a frauder, a runnaway? You need love too. But, as it stands, True doesn't care: "We can't guarentee that criminals won't get on our site, but we can quarentee that they'll be sorry they did."

I can see it now:
Felon: I was just trying to get a date, get some love and rejoin society. I've been in jail so long.
True/cop/law: You have endangered everyone on the internet. You must be punished.

Wouldn't it make more sense to work on protecting online daters from things they're more likely to be dealing with, like STDs, heartbreak and empty wallets?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sociolotron - Virtual Sex with Consequences

So, I risk sounding way out of the loop, but MMOs are not really my thing. However, STDs are my kind of thing and now I'm going to write about both at the same time! The adult MMO, Sociolotron is all about social interaction for adults (21 and over please). The game, I'm finding out, has a gigantic STD/infectious disease component whereby players can sexually contract infections which then require cures. I found a really great string about this on Bonnie's Heroine Shiek, where player discuss the consequences of getting a virtual STD.

Below, I've pasted some text from the Sociolotron site's section about "illness" for your pleasure. My comments are in orange.

"There are various diseases in the game and they basically break down in two categories: Airborne and sexually transmitted. The first type of disease is caught just by being close to an infected character and is therefore very insidiously. The second sort of disease can only be transmitted during a sexual intercourse. Diseases also have various degrees of contagiousness. Some may have only a slight chance of being transmitted, others may spread like a wildfire.

All diseases are programmed individually and can show different symptoms and effects. All diseases go through different stages and each stage can have a different effect. [SOUNDS LIKE SYPHILIS!] Some diseases just heal when the end stage is reached, some remain at that stage and some eliminate your character. Some diseases can be determined by just looking at the character since it may show some signs like spots or ulcers, others can only determined by a medical biocorder (a diagnosis device) or other means."

"Healing a disease can be tricky. The only possible cure for a disease is a specific drug that is tailored to this disease. The system provides 10 chemicals as raw materials and these chemicals must be mixed in a specific formula to target a disease. What makes things worse is, that some cures may only heal a disease in a certain stage. It may reduce the stage to the preceding one or it may cure the disease completely."

"Finding these formulas can be a VERY challenging task. Recipes must be collected in recipe books by pharmacists which are precious goods because they can not be shared. Having a recipe for a certain cure can be a gold mine, depending on how common this recipe is." [FAMILIAR PHARMACEUTICAL POLITICS?] ...

"Searching for cure will be one major part of the game, since diseases are everywhere! Consider working together with other characters on this task! Perhaps you found and run a hospital?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NTEN Innovation Plaza

ISIS-Inc. has been selected to participate in the Innovations Plaza at the NTEN 2007 Nonprofit Technology Conference! We are very excited and plan on showcasing several of our projects: InSPOT and SEXINFO. We'll of course be able to answer questions about some of our other projects too: Eavesdrop, Californiamen, Massmen, Hookinguponline,

So far nearly 1000 attendees are listed for NTC, along with numerous exciting guest speakers. Among others, we're excited to meet the following speakers:

Heidi J. Boisvert, Suzanne Seggerman, Benjamin Stokes, Barry Joseph, Karen Michaelson: "Video Games for Social Change: a New Movement"

Jonathon D. Colman: "Using Online Social Networks to Build Buzz..."

Beth Kanter, involved in 4 different sessions: widgits, Flickr, vlogging, etc.

Dale L. Larson, "Think Mobile! More than Text Messaging"

Look for ISIS at the Innovations Plaza on thursday April 5th.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dodgeball. In your face.

Your Friends. Friends of Friends. Crushes. I'm not sure where to start with this one. Dodgeball, a google toy, is a networking site for mobile phones.

First off, you can send messages to your friends. So, I can usually handle texting my friends myself, but this feature adds a middlemachine to relay your texts to everyone on your friends list. (or the ones you set to receive messages online). It goes like this (pretend I'm billy): "Hey I'm at Clooney's," to 30 people's phones.

The friends of friends feature alerts you (by text) when you are within 10 blocks of any friends of friends. You'll get a message that says something like: "Billy is at Clooney's. You know him through Jill."

The crushes feature allows you to select up to five people (only five because they "are not a brothel") that you have a crush on. You select them from the Dodgeball site. Then when they are within 10 blocks of you, you will get a text message that says: "Billy is at Clooney's. He has a crush on you. Valencia at 25th"). And, if you are able to receive pictures on your phone, you'll get one of the person who is crushing on you.
Oh, I should say, Dodgeball works in 22 cities, and you can change your city as you travel. You can also find venues by texting in the name to "DODGE" or 36343.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Have Herpes or HPV? Need a hookup site?

So poz personals and hookup/dating sites for HIV positive folks have been around for a while. I wondered what dating services were out there for folks with other viral stds like herpes and HPV. Answer: Quite a few. Disclaimer: the following 4 sites have a straight focus.

STDmatch - This site appears to be world wide. Looks an smells like any other hookup/dating site, except for the required step of disclosing your particular STD, and then the STD you prefer your potential partner(s) to have. The home page defines it audience as folks with HSV, HPV or HIV. One thing I noticed was that chlamydia was listed as the lone bacterial know there's a treatment for that? Other than the overactive advertisments, this looks like a great site.

STDsingles - "It's fun, interactive, safe and anonymous -- until you decide to take it further." Hmmm...I think they mean it isn't anonymous anymore after you meet someone. I didn't get that at first. I was thinking, hmmm...good way to sabotage your hookup site. The registration process for this site is a bit irritating with lots of blinking arrows. All fields are required. They also call your STD your "condition."

Positivesingles - Positive singles is free or ~$20/mo for "Gold Membership," which actually seems necessary to really connect with anyone. This site has a great collection of "STD blogs" written by members. I found some heated debates about whether men or women suffer more from STDs (I think we know the answer to that / CDC is trying to prioritize correctly). Most resource links take you to commercial sites, but my favorite links was CharlotteH, a club in NC for folks with either herpes type or HPV.

STDFriends - Because of the funky pile of search terms at the bottom of the page, the seemingly bogus testimonials, and the low membersip numbers, this site seems a little hungry. However...I really like it. Unlike the others, you can select "Dating" or "Intimage Encounters." No where else have I seen casual encounter ads for STD positive folks. Most sites are geared towards partnership/marriage, as if to say, 'since you have an STD, don't be slut.' The other great feature (besides being free) is the drop down menus, including "what really turns me on." It's got some great choices, including: "a beard," "incense," "hard rock music," etc. Oh, and there's a page about telling your partner about your STD. This site has my top vote.

Coming soon, reviews of:,,,, and .

Monday, March 12, 2007

I am a Nexus

Dallas, my buddy who blogs for Babeland is a massage candle. This quiz ,posted today,tells you which sex toy you are. I am a Nexus (pictured here).

At the end of the quiz it told me this: "Much like a tandem bike, you were built for two. You have a fiery and curious personality that comes out when you’re with the one you love. You have a way of connecting to their passion that makes you unique and often daring. Perhaps you will be the one to introduce them to a new way of loving? Still, you are a simple, sleek, and high quality individual through and through."

I especially love the last sentence.

I also found this porn choosing guide on the Babeland site, which unless you are buying previously viewed DVDs for $5.95 a piece, may come in handy.

Friday, March 9, 2007

To tell or not to tell, Divine Caroline asked me

For what it's worth I'm sharing this interview that a school pal of mine who writes for Divine Caroline did with me. The article appears on in the Body & Soul/Staying Healthy Section, and is called "How to get a piece of mind before getting a piece of tail." Honestly I had no idea that I was actually writing this much of the article, so many of my words that I never thought I would see in print are there. It's fine. The one part I would change however is the question about HIV disclosure. I originally had an extra sentence on the end that was cut out by an said something to the effect that I don't actually feel comfortable making recommendations to folks who are HIV-positive and are planning on disclosing, mostly because I have not been in that situation. (Hold your horses, that doesn't I've had every STD in the book either!)

I also thought the interview was a good way to spread the word about InSPOT, one way to tell any anonymous partners you have that they may have been exposed to something. Blogging about InSPOT has actually increased a little since a few months ago. Check this technorati chart:InSPOT per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Pronto, let's do it

I saw this on WIRED (one of my favorite sex/tech blogs) and also found these great little demo videos (here and here) that show how easy the condom is to put on. You can also watch these on the prontocondom website. The project isn't actually that new in South Africa, as the site has been up since january 06, and the condoms distributed for a while (and displayed in NYC at MoMA)

So, potentially, no more opening it with your teeth, and no more wondering which side is which. Think it will take? Give feedback here.

The condom contracption also won a "dezeen" award for being the "Most beautiful object" in South Africa by Dutch designer Jurgen Bey.