Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SF City Clinic and ISIS get Kudos from NY Times!

Responding to the overwhelming amounts of health information on the web and the difficultly this creates in distinguishing between accurate and inaccurate information, the Ny Times health section put together a list of the "six of the most interesting and potentially useful online health resources." ISIS is proud that SFCityClinic.org not only made the cut but is number 3 on the list! We, here at ISIS worked hard in partnership with SFDPH on the site design and content development for sfcityclinic.org. So, thank you Ny Times for the nod!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gamer Youth do More Good for the World

A national survey about teen gaming trends has had some surprising results. The study, conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, and supported by the MacArthur Foundation looked at the varied experiences of young gamers and the social impressions that gaming can leave.

For just a taste, here are some tidbits:
76% of teens play games with others at least some of the time
44% of teens play games where they learn about societal issues
52% of teens play games where they need to think about moral and ethical issues

And..."the survey indicates that youth who have these kinds of civic gaming experiences are more likely to be civically engaged in the offline world. They are more likely than others are to go online to get information about current events, to try to persuade others how to vote in an election, to say they are committed to civic participation, and to raise money for charity."

Want to read more?
The press release
The full survey report (PDF)
MacArthur grantmaking in digital media and education

Thursday, September 25, 2008

STDtest.org is making a splash in San Francisco

Check out our fearless leader on one of her recent STDtest.org related TV interviews!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

City’s Newest STD Resource Offers Online Testing

Check out what is new with ISIS! We are super excited about the launch of our new project STDtest.org!

City’s Newest STD Resource Offers Online Testing

Everyone Can “Pay it Forward” While “Playing It Safe”

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco STD officials will unveil the City’s newest system to ensure that San Francisco residents have better access, greater convenience, and easier choices in personal STD testing for people at risk for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and herpes.

A confidential online testing resource, www.STDTest.org, is a collaboration between Internet Sexuality Information Services, Inc. (ISIS) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health - STD Prevention and Control. It will be presented Wed. Sept. 24, 11:30 a.m. at Gotham Tattoo Parlor (3991 17th St. at Market), one of seven participating lab testing locations.

Through STDTest.org, individuals print their own lab slips and locate a nearby testing site to provide their samples. Test results then arrive within three to five days, accessible online by a unique identifier (PIN). HIV test results are delivered on the phone by a trained counselor. The Department of Public Health will ensure all persons who test positive for an STD receive information on treatment options as soon as possible, whether through City Clinic or their own healthcare provider.

“STDTest.org demonstrates an effective partnership to match new technology and creative resources with local prevention, testing and treatment options, particularly for gay men and young adults,” said Deb Levine, ISIS Executive Director. “Providing accessible and free tools that empower people to take charge of their own sexual health is key in reducing disease in our community.”

After several years of declining syphilis rates in San Francisco, the number of reported cases of early syphilis for the first half of 2008 was 274, up nearly 35% compared to the same period in 2007. In 2007, 595 cases of rectal chlamydia and 494 cases of rectal gonorrhea were diagnosed among men who have sex with men in the city, while the rate of chlamydia among African-American adolescents was over 7 times that of white adolescents.

Through a safe, easy, and secure online payment mechanism, STDTest.org users can “Pay it Forward”-- donating a test to family, friends, loved ones, or someone in need-- allowing the entire community to benefit from information and services available.

“While frequent testing for individuals can ensure individual sexual health and disease prevention, we also recognize most testing services do not come without a price,” said Levine. “We remain committed to offering STDTest.org for free to any San Francisco resident in need of testing, especially those reluctant or unable to seek medical care for STDs, relying upon community generosity instead of usage fees." In-kind services have already been donated by Paypal, and a starting “Pay it Forward” donation from an anonymous funder.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chilean Youth Express Themselves via Photosharing Site

Last week there was an article in the New York times called In a Tangle of Young Lips, a Sex Rebellion in Chile. The article outlines how Chile, previously one of "Latin America's most sexually conservative countries," has recently become a hot bed of sweaty teens that dance and grind and make out publicly--- a lot. There seems to be a cluster of reasons for the so called sexual explosion: the coming of democracy after Pinochet's reign, lack of proper sex education and fotolog.com. Apparently, teens arrange large scale parties on this site and then post pictures of their escapades. I don't know... metaphorically speaking it seems that sites like fotolog.com are the hammers that built the house and you can't very well blame the tool for junky architecture.
What is really interesting to me about the article to me were Dr. Arias comments:
Dr. Arias did a study of the Fotolog phenomenon, scrutinizing the kinds of photos teenagers are posting, even the angles and distances of the pictures — all of which are part of an “identifiable” language, he said. “The kids of today are expressing their sexuality in erotic ways for the whole world to see.”
It seems really intriguing to think of the images that kids post as a common language. It could be really interesting to see how norms are set, defined and then followed. I'm not advocating teenage public promiscuity for research purposes, but I am interested in how kids think about sex and talk about it with each other.

Friday, September 12, 2008

ISIS Animation

I thought it might be a nice change to do an ISIS process blog. We always have a lot of balls in the air around here. We're really lucky around here and get to work on amazing projects that tend to have creative and fun aspects to them. We are currently working with several partners on a research project that will live in Myspace. Basically, we are trying to harness and shape the power of web 2.0 represented by the communicative powers of Myspace to get people talking about sexual health and HIV. And the interesting kicker is that the research limb of this project will try to measure the effects.

For the project we are creating an animation that will be sort of a serial drama. So far the process of creating this has been a fun challenge for me. I started pretty green, with very little knowledge of the world of animation- don't get me wrong I love cartoons but I didn't know what we into developing them. We found an amazing company to work with Rudner Design Works and they are helping us put the pieces together. They are slowly pulling images out of my head and putting them on paper. I even got to write my first ever script! Check out the first images for the first installment of the series.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Planned Parenthood takes care of your down theres

Planned Parenthood wowed me today. I saw Take Care Down There for the first time this morning and gobbled up all 9 of the videos. TCDT addresses sexual health issues that are important to young people, while making solid fun of 'adults'...while trusting that, yeah, sometimes they do have good answers.

The short starburst-y clips touch on masturbation, queerness, communication in bed and include simple messages like "women should get tested once a year, and men should get tested before starting a new relationship." And while that's pretty basic, it's also pretty dang palatable.

There is also an amazing song which includes lovely names for our mentionables like, furry pink canoe, hum diddler, panty hampster and love-log.

Oh, and the site has a handy zip code search for a clinic near you along with a check list of what to bring with you ('friend' makes the list) and an ask a nurse function.

Grand slam. I dig it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

inPrivate on the new IE8

Last week Microsoft released their biggest Internet Explorer update since 2006, IE8 Beta. One of the new features that has folks smiling and sheepishly looking at the floor is "InPrivate" mode, that has been affectionately dubbed "Porn Mode." InPrivate or Porn Mode lets you tread the dark corners (well all corners) of the Internet stealthily, with out leaving a trace on your computer. The official jargon behind the idea is that you can buy gifts for your spouse without them accidentally stumbling upon the Amazon purchase page. Or you can buy those special romantic concert tickets on a shared computer without your browser's history giving you away.
Um...sure that's what people will use it for...
Sure you could use this to hide gifts and plans to surprise your mate but really, more often than not, folks will probably use this feature to cruise and surf porn sites in inappropriate places (or on borrowed computers)with impunity. Or play games at work. Haha the things we will do when no one is watching. But be careful if you work at a large company because even if your cookies aren't stored on your computer you can still be tracked through your company's server.
If this feature catches on (Firefox and Safari have something similar) it could prove disaterous to small internet sites that use advertisement as their main source of revenue. This new feature blocks the data tracking cookies that allow advertisers to track your browsing habits. I'm ok with that I think...

IE8 Beta