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Using SMS for the greater good!

I love it when I see mobile phones being put to good use, and I also love it when say for important issues, mobile phones are being utilised to capture a target audience in the best sense and way possible.

I was browsing around my daily choice of news reads, when I came across an article where a simple SMS message is being used to highlighting the need to have HIV tests in Africa. I think it’s brilliant. It’s short, snappy, and highlighting a point, and trying to induce change with it.

So why then, doesn’t this happen here in the UK?

Now, I’ll tell you, I think it was around a week ago now I received a letter in the post informing me of the free Chlamydia tests I can have.  It’s a brilliant service, and I have to praise my local Primary Care Trust for providing it, and for the notice about it.  But do you know what would be better?

Tell me via the methods of communications I use most. And by that I mean E-mail and SMS.

I admit, I always check I have post, and I do write the odd letter (usually a complaint though), but I do use the “snail-mail” system. But, it’s not engaging, it’s not relevant, and it’s certainly not in touch with the speed of information transfer and communication I’m used to.

Whenever I speak to someone my age, it’s never “Oh, I got this is in the post this morning…” it’s “I got an e-mail a minute ago about…” and “Look at the text I just received!”. The old system of postal mail, I love it, it’s quaint and good to use occasionally, but it’s not good for informing me about a free Chlamydia test I can have.

What would have been brilliant would be a nicely worded (although not txt spk msg) with a link to a free WAP site. If that’s too much to ask for then maybe a service where I could text back my door number and post code to receive more information in the post, or maybe even a test pack.

This really isn’t rocket science, and nor is this asking too much. The most common methods of communication for young people (and probably, most people now), is via our phones. Not to mention, the effort required to get a reply is next to nothing, compared to the mini-form I would have to fill out, then the bother of finding an envelope.  And, with what is it, one in fifteen or ten people getting Chlamydia now, wouldn’t it only just make sense to target me, and all my peers using this method?

Obviously, there is an issue as to how, say my local Primary Care Trust would get hold of my mobile number, and then issues with data-storage and privacy – then again, I was slightly shocked at how information I’ve given to my GP has riddled its way into a mail-merging system.  But, if there was a way in which this system could work, then SMS could be used and become part of the greater-good.

But even say if Mobile Networks became obliged to send out such messages to all people aged nineteen or below, then this system would work brilliantly.

Food for though I think, and I would like to see something developed in the near future which maybe utilised the powers of SMS and even MMS more.

Any ideas, questions, thoughts or suggestions please e-mail them to me at

9 replies on “Using SMS for the greater good!”

Hi Samantha,

Well yes it would be good but under current DPA laws unless you specifical allow it then your personal information cannot be shared, Indeed if a doctor gave (For example) information informing a Treatment company that you had, oh i dont know, Crabs? then they are in clear violation of DPA and can be sued, This is coming a common ocurance, the amount of younger (Below 21) people are sueing over trivial matters. It could potential do more harm than good.

Now i do agree that it is a very good idea, but there are large issues to get around before anything like this could be implamented, I perticularly like the idea of texting your Postcode to recive information extra now that would work amazingly if a company could indeed implament it.

Now comes the issue though of how you would get the adverts sent to you in the first place? you would still need to fill in pages and pages of information before this services could be implamented.


Kassan, I think Chlamydia testing is offered to everyone in “at risk” demographics, rather than people who are known to have it. Presumably the hospital has got hold of Samantha's address somehow, so they could get her mobile number from the same source. My GP surgery sends SMS reminders for appointments, although they haven't offered me any STI tests yet.

Samantha, how about some more coverage of the African HIV SMS?

Ah my confusion, sorry 🙂

Although i would agree with Alex, i would also like to hear more about the HIV SMS


Ah my confusion, sorry 🙂

Although i would agree with Alex, i would also like to hear more about the HIV SMS


Ah my confusion, sorry 🙂

Although i would agree with Alex, i would also like to hear more about the HIV SMS


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