Evaluation of inSPOTLA.org: an Internet partner notification service

Sex Transm Dis. 2012 May;39(5):341-5. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31824e5150.


Background: This article presents an evaluation of inSPOTLA.org, a sexually transmitted disease partner notification Web site in Los Angeles County primarily targeting men who have sex with men (MSM). Since its launch in 2005, this Web site has received more than 400,000 visitors and resulted in nearly 50,000 e-mail postcards sent. However, there have been limited quantitative data concerning use of the service for actual partner notification. This study investigated awareness and use of inSPOTLA among MSM, as well as the effect of an advertising campaign.

Methods: Data from 2 cross-sectional surveys using time-location samples were used for the evaluation, with a baseline survey conducted in 2007 and a follow-up conducted in 2009. The advertising campaign was implemented between the surveys in 2008.

Results: Awareness of inSPOTLA was 15.8% in the baseline survey and 14.4% in the follow-up survey, with no statistically significant difference. Reported use of inSPOTLA for partner notification was less than 2% in both surveys, again with no significant difference. In addition to the surveys, a high-volume sexual health clinic that serves the MSM population in Los Angeles collected data on reason for visit, including referrals from inSPOTLA, from all patients from 2007 through 2009. In 3 years, 2 individuals stated having received an inSPOTLA e-card as the reason for their visit.

Conclusions: While website user statistics seemed to indicate an impressive level of use, our evaluation of inSPOTLA found very limited evidence of program effectiveness for the purpose of actual partner notification among MSM in Los Angeles County.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contact Tracing*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Mail
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonorrhea* / epidemiology
  • HIV Seropositivity* / epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Program Evaluation
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Syphilis* / epidemiology
  • Young Adult