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Courtesy of Jarrah Hodge of Gender Focus, my attention was called to the BC government’s new STI initiative: Giving people the option of using anonymous e-cards to inform their sexual partners of possible transmission of STIs. Here’s what the cards look like. Methinks the BC government needs to enter the 21st century, because they look like a cross between the Kool-Aid mascot and that face that appeared on old school Macs as they were powering up. Such an important topic deserves something more visually arresting if you ask me:

Personally, I’m hoping that if I ever have sex with someone who infects me, they give me the courtesy of a phone call, at least. I also hope there’s a measure in here somewhere that prevents this from being used as a prank. I can already think of how many poor, poor teachers, principals, and other people who could easily find this in their inbox sent by a jokey type.

However, if you don’t have a good relationship with that person, or you fear that you may be “outed” by them if you tell them yourself, and have it negatively impact your life via your reputation at school, work, and in your social circles, this may be ideal. If the BC Government can find a way to prevent this being used for pranks, it could be a powerful tool in ensuring that people get the STI testing that they need, before it’s too late and they unwittingly infect someone. It’s tragic that that stigma exists, and even more heartbreaking that that stigma can lead to more infections and poor health.

Rather than sweeping it under the rug and pretending that young people (or old people or middle aged people) don’t have sex outside of marriage (and marriage isn’t a cure for an STI) I applaud the BC government for handling this and making sure that health and public safety, rather than stigmatizing sexual activity or wagging fingers about a “loose moral culture” take priority. I think I have to side with Jarrah on this one when she says:

Overall, if people are really worried about getting a dreaded STI e-card, there’s an easy way around it: be assertive and talk openly with your partner(s), practice safe sex and get regularly tested for STIs.

Not much I can add to that except some links from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the BC CDC, and Options for Sexual Health Services and Support for BC.