Thursday, May 8, 2008
Medical Reports: Safe Sex Passport
Despite years of safe sex campaigns, some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, but a South Florida entrepreneur says he's found a solution so you can have a safe passport to paradise. Seven's Patrick Fraser has the story.
WSVN -- If you are single and out clubbing around, if you are married and out prowling around, then, odds are, sex is on your mind.
Rob Streisfeld, Safe Sex Passport client: "People are going to be having sex. It's part of our lifestyle. It's part of our social structure and culture."
Rob is a good looking single guy. Ivette is a beautiful divorced single mom.
Ivette Torres: "I want to know that when I interact with someone they don't have a disease. I'm a Mom, I have children, and I want to protect myself."
And in case they meet the right person, they want to make sure the sex they have is safe sex, which brings us to Gonzalo Paternoster.
Gonzalo Paternoster, Safe Sex Passport founder: "Sex and love can be a beautiful thing."
After learning that 16 million people a year contract a sexually transmitted disease, Paternoster created this tool, the Safe Sex Passport. It tells you if the person you might climb into bed with might be carrying any one of the five most common sexually transmitted diseases.
Gonzalo Paternoster, Safe Sex Passport founder: "So you can actually share this card with people and give them access to your test results."
Here's how it works: after you sign up for the Safe Sex Passport you pay a lab to test you for the diseases. Then, when you meet someone, they can get your test results over the phone or through the web by using the password you give them.
Rob is a holistic doctor who has paid the $75 to join and uses the card.
Rob Streisfeld, Safe Sex Passport client: "Well, I think, first response maybe taken aback that someone is so up front about it, but after you explain about it and how it works and why I do it, they actually say, 'Oh, that's really nice.'"
Ivette is planning on signing up and says if you want to date her, you need the card.
Ivette Torres: "There are so many people that are infected with diseases. I think that if anyone is going to want to be with me it's not going to be a problem for me to ask them if they have a Safe Sex Passport."
Patrick Fraser: "The card is good for people who are straight or gay. It doesn't matter, the common denominator is wanting to make sure you and your sexual partner are clean. To keep it up to date you have to be tested for the diseases every six months, and that is where the critics of the Safe Sex Passport jump in."
Christopher Brown, Chicago Dept. of Health: "Probably my greatest concern is that this could lead to a false sense of security."
As the popularity of the Safe Sex Passport card spreads from South Florida across the country, health officials spread the message about its flaws.
Christopher Brown, Chicago Dept. of Health: "So someone could test on one day and really test truly negative for all these diseases, but, literally, the next day could become infected with some or all the diseases."
Gonzalo Paternoster, Safe Sex Passport founder: "The card is not a perfect solution, but combine it with a condom and it can help slow down the spread of sexual diseases, and I tell people this: 'Your seat belt, it's not perfect, but I bet you can wear your seat belt and you're going to be more safe than not."
For Rob, it's another layer of protection, another way to show he cares about protecting himself and his partner
Rob Streisfeld, Safe Sex Passport client: "I think it's going to catch on. I think it's going to be great for college students. I think it's going to help a lot to reduce the rate of infections and things like that especially when they start having sex for the first time."
Critics call the passport naive, supporters clever and hope more people consider it a passport to paradise.