Could Facebook Help Fight STDs?

facebookWhat if you could log into Facebook and receive a message that one of your friends was just diagnosed with HIV and you might be at risk?

It might sound strange, but this is actually a real idea, based on new research. It’s a bit like six degrees of separation. Chances are, if you slept with someone, that someone might have slept with one of your friends as well. Researchers like Peter Leone, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Infectious Diseases, believes that using social networks we can better track and monitor outbreaks of sexual transmitted infections.

During a recent syphilis outbreak in North Carolina, by analyzing social networks of those infected they were able to track down 80% of the cases. This takes the focus away from a particular at-risk demographic and onto a larger cluster of infection. So just how close are your close friends after all? Knowing this might be the difference in catching a disease faster. (Source: Salon)