Objective: In response to the current syphilis epidemic among men who have sex with men, the San Francisco Department of Public Health sought to increase syphilis testing by offering testing in nonclinical settings.
Goal: The goal of this study was to collaborate with a community-based organization, Internet Sexuality Information Services, Inc. (ISIS), to design an innovative, confidential, online testing service for syphilis.
Study: The service, called STDTest.org, was launched in June 2003. The web site allows people to print out a laboratory requisition slip, have their blood drawn, and receive their test results online.
Results: During the first year, 218 tests were performed and 13 persons had reactive serologies. Six patients were diagnosed with a new syphilis infection and treated.
Conclusions: Online syphilis testing offers a free and convenient alternative to getting tested at the San Francisco municipal sexually transmitted disease clinic and an additional means for detecting syphilis cases.