Making the Web a Safer Place
Since the days of AOL Chat rooms, there's been talk of how dating/hookup sites aimed at men can work in tandem with HIV/STD prevention efforts. STOP AIDS set out find answers to that question in a groundbreaking way. Along with our partners, California HIV/STD Prevention Training Center and the San Francisco Department of Health, we conducted a national survey of public health officials, website owners and the patrons of some of these sites.
We developed a survey with 41 different online prevention strategies and asked all three groups to respond from their perspective. Some of these strategies are already being carried out on many sites, such as outreach and profile screens. Other are new -- such as offering tailored health advice through hook-up sites. Over 3000 users answered questions about which ideas they would use or support; 18 owners responded to ideas they would host on their site; and 82 directors responded to ideas they thought were most likely to reduce HIV or STD transmission.
We found eight ideas that all three groups readily supported. One example is signing up for optional reminders for STD and/or HIV tests, at a frequency chosen by the user. Users said they would use this feature. Web owners said this was the type of intervention they could see incorporting onto their site and public health officials said they believe it could reduce the overall rates of HIV/STD transmission.
The full survey results were written up for public health officials and for website owners & users. Please don't hesitate to greatonlinehookupsurvey [at] gmail [dot] com (contact us) if you have any questions or feedback.