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OP/ED: CDC notifies SanFran citizens of STD's via email, Ethical implications?

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posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 08:07 PM
Imagine this- You come home and pull up your e-mail. You see an e-mail from the Center For Disease Control.What's this, you say? You have just been notified that you have a Sexually Transmitted Disease, or STD.This strategy is being used in San Francisco to notify people of same. In lieu of recent events in San Francisco with gay marraiges I was compelled to post this.

At this time, public health officials are using e-mail to try to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among people who meet through various Internet chat rooms and Web sites.

In a pilot program used in Los Angeles County, health officials used e-mail and the Internet to notify the sex partners of people who had been diagnosed with STDs.

Quote from article follows-

"The county's health department said that from 2001 to 2003, 172 of 759 men with syphilis reported using the Internet to meet sex partners. But because of the anonymity of these partners, health officials had a hard time figuring out who they really were -- so they turned to e-mail."

San Francisco's Health Department is believed to be the only other agency to use e-mail in this fashion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released the Los Angeles case study Thursday, said one-third of adult Internet visits are to sexually oriented Web sites, chat rooms, and news groups. Although so-called "virtual sex" carries no risk for STDs, using the Internet to find partners for actual sexual activity does carry such risk.

CDC officials said "more and more, the Internet is serving as a place to meet sex partners and engage in risky behavior."

The CDC said e-mail was a "helpful and good alternative when you have otherwise anonymous sex partners."


This indicates to me that there are some serious issues with people, as well as federal agencies in that area. What is your opinion?

[Edited on 20-2-2004 by Nerdling]

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