Using 'Open Source' Tools to Fight Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

There are 110 million sexually transmitted infections (STI) among women and men nationwide, with 20 million new STIs reported each year. CDC officials, estimate direct medical costs of STIs at a over $16 billion annually.

City health departments are seeing local repercussions, too. Some 40 percent of people tested for STIs at the Baltimore Department of Health's clinics don't receive their results because they don't come back for their test outcomes. This also holds true in many other cities across the U.S. and around the world.

Enter 'Private Results', an online, open-source STI test results delivery system created by Sexual Health Innovations in collaboration with the Baltimore City Health Department.  Jessica Ladd, the founder of Sexual Health Innovations, talked about the project's launch this week at the 2013 mHealth Summit.

The system not only delivers STI results to patients who have been tested, it also provides useful information and education materials to them, passes information to public health departments on potential sexually transmitted disease (STD) outbreaks, and also interfaces to the So They Can Know web site – allowing patients to privately notify their sexual partners that they ought to get tested.

"If we actually want to disrupt this area, we have to start making things more collaborative and open source," said Ladd. "We're building an API into this that makes it really easy to share real-time STI outbreak data between a clinic, a local health department and a state department, and for them to send data back to providers about possible outbreaks occurring which might help change how frequently they screen certain communities for emerging STIs."

Since most health departments can’t afford to offer anonymous partner notification services to people with curable STIs, Sexual Health Innovations has stepped in to help make this possible. When people aren’t offered anonymous notification services they tend to notify only about half to a quarter of their at-risk partners.

So They Can Know is targeted at adolescents and young adults 15-24 years old who have been diagnosed with an STI. Users can look up information and watch videos about how to notify their partners in person, on the phone, via email, or via text message. Emails generated by 'So They Can Know' also provide relevant health information and links to locate nearby testing services.


Other Selected Resources

STI Testing Locators
National HIV and STD Testing Resource
StayTeen (STD testing clinics)
InSPOT (STD testing clinics)
SexEtc (HIV testing & family planning)
OraQuick Distributors (HIV testing)

STI Vaccine Locators
National HIV and STD Testing Resource

Online Laboratory Referral Websites
for STD Testing

Just Get Tested
tSTD Services Group
Advanced Testing Center
SameDaySTD Testing
Get STD Tested



Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases are among the most common infectious diseases in the US today. Its good to know that there are still support groups who have a kind heart to implement systems such as a tool to fight STD. Its amazing that Sexual Health Innovations are doing their best and has stepped in to help make this possible.

A Thousand Points of Light -

A Thousand Points of Light - It's amazing to watch so many organizations and volunteers springing up across the U.S. and around the world to develop and implement innovative solutions that solve major problem we are facing. No government could ever afford to do all that they are doing. The key is to figure out how to harness and weave together the best of all these efforts without stifling the progress and innovation of these groups. Something like... a free and 'open' marketplace!?!!