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Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases:
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e328320a871
Sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections: Edited by Anton L. Pozniak

Web 2.0 and beyond: risks for sexually transmitted infections and opportunities for prevention

Rietmeijer, Cornelis Aa,b; McFarlane, Maryc

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Purpose of review: The continued growth of the Internet as a communication medium has had major implications for the transmission and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The purpose of this review is to describe recent developments in this rapidly changing environment.

Recent findings: The interface between the Internet and STIs is described from three perspectives: the Internet as a risk environment, that is, a place where prospective, potentially STI-infected, sex partners can be recruited; the Internet as a venue where public health prevention interventions aimed at STIs and HIV prevention can be placed; and the Internet as an increasingly important work environment for all STI prevention disciplines.

Summary: The review highlights recent developments and identifies potential avenues for future research and program development. The increasing interactivity of the Internet, known as ‘Web 2.0’, especially the user-driven social networking sites that allow users to share near limitless amounts of personal information with their peers in the network, is compounding the potential of the Internet as an environment for both STI risk and prevention.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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