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.

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