Reporting on the Philly Trans-Health Conference from workshop Finding Reliable Health Information Online by the AIDS Project/Philadelphia Fight
Philadelphia Fight, the parent organization of the AIDS Library, was helping people get access to HIV meds since 1990. They have been using technology to make LGBT and AIDS information accessible, specifically empowering individuals to find reliable information on their own. Also funded by Freedom Rights the Critical Path Project is providing public computers across the city of Philadelphia and offering access to computer classes.
This training went over how to decide whether a website offers valid advice on transgender health, which is an extremely skill! There is so little information on trans health. Even in the ’90s when I was first researching this stuff, there was little information and it was mostly entirely unreliable. Without much research, data, healthcare inclusion, etc there are still issues even now, but there are SOME good resources and ways to ID those.
The workshop challenges us to think very critically about online information: who it comes, why it was published, when was it posted, how clear is the information, what is the format, what is the purpose (to provide information or sell products? Some ways to critically examine these sources are to check sources and find if it is a recognized organization with legitimate links.
Examples of Good Contact Information
- The Center for Excellent on Transgender Health in the University of San Francisco in California – it’s recognized organization with valid contact information.
What to be mindful of
- Websites not updated recently and/or no reliable contact information.
- Online forums are not necessarily reliable or objective, and often health providers are not commenting on these. However if you look at the experiences on their own, that may be helpful, but just not for objective advice. These may be great for support and offer information not offered elsewhere (Ex. Experience Project, FTM surgery info).
- Dead links
- Some health information may not be fully and objectively presented
Again, specific factsheets will be shared later on! In the meantime information can be found here: http://aidslibrary.org/