Choosing Online Resources
Many websites list medical, health-related or HIV/AIDS information. Many have good information, but there are a few out there that are not very reliable or accurate. When searching for information on the web, please review carefully and, if in doubt, ask your health provider if they could review the site for accuracy. The links listed on Community Drum have been reviewed and accepted by the ANTHC HIV/AIDS Services staff.
Another good resource that lists some medical "quacks/scams" is Quack Watch at www.quackwatch.com. They do a good job on reporting on the latest medical fads or scams.
Things To Consider When Searching for Medical Information on the Web
This short guide has important questions you should consider as you look for health information online. Answering these questions will help you evaluate the information you find.
- Who runs the site?
Any good health-related website will make it easy for you to learn who is
responsible for the site and how to contact the site owner. If the site hosts chat rooms or other online discussion areas, it should tell visitors what are the terms of using
this service. Is it moderated? If so, by whom, and why?
- Who pays for the site?
It costs money to run a website. The source of a website's funding should
be clearly stated or readily apparent. For example, websites ending in
.gov means it is a government-sponsored site. Does it sell advertising? Is it sponsored by a drug
company? The source of funding can affect the contents and how it is presented.
- What is the purpose of the site?
An "About This Site" or "Who We Are" link is on many sites and should state the purpose of the site.
- Where does the information come from?
Many health/medical sites post information collected from other websites
or publications and will clearly state where that information came from.
- What is the basis of the information?
The site should be able to state what the material is based on. Medical facts and
figures should have references.
- How current is the information?
Websites should be updated on a regular basis and an update or review date should be posted and can be found at the bottom of the web page.
- What information about you does the site collect, and why?
Some health web sites ask for you to
"subscribe" or "become a member." This may be so that they
Things to Consider is adapted in part from the National Institutes of Health website.
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