March 20, 1999
From Correspondent Frida Ghitis
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Over the past several years, people looking for information on health have discovered that the Internet can open the doors to a wealth of knowledge on prevention and treatment of illnesses.
Now, a popular medical Web site will begin targeting millions of Spanish-speaking people who have Internet access.
"Healthfinder will now provide resources on the health issues of greatest concern to this population," Surgeon General David Satcher announced at a conference on preventive medicine in Washington.
The site, with links to 5,000 other health-related Web pages, will give Spanish speakers news and information on issues such as HIV (VIH in Spanish), hepatitis and alcoholism.
While most Hispanics do not have access to the Internet, Satcher said he expects that those who do will share the information with those who don't.
"People who speak Spanish can access information they need to put prevention into practice in their own lives, in their homes, in their communities," Satcher said.
And the Web is worldwide.
"As long as the information is readable to people, they can find it just as easily from Latin America as they can from Massachusetts or Texas or Florida," said Mary Jo Deering, director of health communications for the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the United States, the number of people searching for health information online is exploding, from less than 8 million in 1995 to an estimated 30 million in 2000.
Satcher said the new service will help level the field for Hispanics in terms of giving them access to information.
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