December 13, 2010
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has launched STD411, a new mobile application for iPhone and iPad users that offers instant access to STD information. SFDPH used a CDC grant to pay $4,000 for the app's development.
The app presents users with a chart indicating the STD transmission risk based on particular sex acts. Various numbers of multicolored flashing condoms indicate risk levels. STD411 can be downloaded from the iTunes store or at http://bit.ly/std411.
In the Castro district, prospective users recently tested the app and mostly gave it high marks. "It's a great idea," said Benni Rodriguez. "There's some stuff I didn't know about," Rodriguez added as he scrolled through the application's STD listing. Some others were less enthusiastic: "I learned pretty much everything I need to know in seventh and eighth grade," one man said.
Deb Levine, executive director of the Oakland-based non-profit Internet Sexuality Information Services, said proper context will be essential to engage users. "One of the things we've learned at ISIS over the last 10 years is that interventions don't work in isolation. Technology works best when there's some physical location component."
Dr. Susan Philip, who has replaced Dr. Jeffrey Klausner as deputy health officer and director of STD prevention and control services, said SFDPH will promote the app on LGBT media. She also is open to partnering with other organizations to share STD411. "We try as much as possible to reach out to partners in our previous work with other websites," she said.
SFDPH also may soon offer a retooled version of "Ask Dr. K," a long-running website feature in which Klausner answered people's questions on sexual health.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
12.02.2010; Matt Baume
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