Friday, May 8, 2009

Healthier hook-ups

via Bay Windows, by Ethan Jacobs

David S. Novak brings serious public health credibility to his new role as coordinator of Manhunt Cares, the men’s health offshoot of the Cambridge-based hook-up site

From 2004 to 2007, while serving as syphilis elimination coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), he literally wrote the book on online STD outreach to gay men, pioneering the department’s work in doing outreach to Manhunt members and authoring a guide on Manhunt outreach for use by other states and agencies. He moved on to serve as national syphilis elimination coordinator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where he continued promoting online outreach as a means to prevent HIV and other STD infections among gay men.

At first glance leaving the CDC to work for one of the world’s biggest gay hook-up sites might seem like an odd transition. But Novak said Manhunt has carved out a role for him to push forward with new strategies for online health outreach without the constraints of red tape and bureaucracy of the public health field.

"I’ve been doing this work for over five years, on the government side, state, federal, and moving into the industry side. ... I can do some things here that public heath would probably take a long time to figure out," said Novak, who joined the Manhunt team at the end of last year.

Manhunt has been working with public health agencies on its site for about the past five years, inviting them to create profiles on the site and provide information and referrals to members with concerns about HIV and other STDs. Under Novak Manhunt has expanded that work, creating Manhunt Cares, a dedicated public health website, and, said Novak, the company is working to strengthen the partnerships it has with public health agencies. Novak also hopes to experiment with new media to do HIV prevention work.

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1 comment:

  1. Please...everyone knows this is BS. Ask any outreach worker who has actually been doing outreach what the effect of MH's "Manhunt Cares" program and they will tell you the result has been counterproductive. Most effective internet outreach--you know, when you actually are allowed to TALK with men about their risk behaviors and recommend testing, etc, happens on sites like craigslist.
    The only decent thing MH has ever done for us was to remove 'PNP' as an option in their profiles. And that was something anyone with human decency would do in light of the havoc crystal has brought to our communities.
    The problem is not the internet or networking sites. The problem is the hypermarketing of anonymous sex online, something that MH greatly profits from.
    People like Novak here can pat themselves on the back all they want. It doesn't change the fact that their models are bunk and ineffective.


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