State offers text message reminders on HIV testing

      EUGENE, Ore. - It's neither OMG and LOL: a new state text messaging program lets you sign up for an FYI reminder on HIV testing.

      The Oregon Reminders program launched in January. Participants get a text message reminding them to get tested for HIV.

      "I think it normalizes the testing," said Renee Yandel with the HIV Alliance of Eugene, "so that people are just getting a reminder to remind them to come on their regular three to six month intervals, or whenever is convenient for them, and there is also access to health information on what is risky and what is safe. It helps dispell the rumors around HIV."

      The HIV Alliance encourages people to sign up at Planned Parenthood and the Benton County Health Department also support the idea.

      But are you putting yourself at risk for having all of your health information pop up right on your cell phone screen?

      Paul Homan signed up for the service back in March. He said he hasn't had any embarassing moments because when you sign up for the texts or e-mails, you choose what is being sent.

      "People I've met have had that concern with text messages because you get a text and your friends look over and say 'oh who's boo-bear?' and then they'll ask about it and you'll have to explain, but that hasn't really been a problem," Homan said.

      He said he uses the service as a reminder for when to take and refill prescriptions since testing positive for HIV 10 years ago.

      "I find it very user friendly," he said. "I've had no problems with it at all."

      The state says more than 500 people have signed up to recieve the messages so far.