Welcome to the STD Risk Assessment Project.

The purpose of this project is to create a website where Front End users are able to easily access the best of current sexual health research to assess the probabilities of STD transmission for different sexual acts with varying degrees of protection and with their best knowledge of the demographic characteristics and sexual history of their partners. From here, they would then be able to see the studies that these assessments are based on, where the certainty is, where things are less certain.  Back End users will be able to use the site as a clearing house for STD related research and be able to see from the transparent Guts of the machine where the gaping holes are in research and what the health impacts are of this lack of knowledge is,  Researchers can then use the Back End to justify and target research for the biggest impacts on quality of life and health for the greatest numbers.

This web site is motivated by the felt need to get beyond vague terms like ‘high’ and ‘low’ risk.  What do these terms translate to in comparison to each other or in comparison to such daily risks as dieing in an automobile accident?  If someone wants to know about specific sex acts like oral sex in comparison to some form of intercourse, the answer is  really difficult to find even for someone with PhD level research skills and knowledge of statistics and probability.

A lot of information is already there, but people need a user-friendly, transparent format to access it that is reflective of their ability to take in complexity. There is also a lot of critical missing information, and the creation of such a probability calculator would expose these major holes in the research for what they are, helping researchers target future research.

The web site would be composed of

  • The Front End: a place where users of any education level  could go and have access to the best available science to make educated choices about their health and sexual activity.  The Front End helps users move beyond such needlessly vague descriptions of risk to numbers that compare these risks to risks that people expose themselves to on a daily basis.
  • The Guts: a database that is a clearinghouse for STD relevant research, including disease prevalence with regional and demographic variance, transmission rates  from different activities and how they are affected by different forms of protection, clearance rates, coinfections, etc.. This data would then be reanalyzed using advanced Bayesian statistical analysis and information theory-based model comparison methods for the most accurate predictions of infection and transmission possibilities.
  • The Back End: a place where researchers and the curious can look into the Guts, get access to the original research behind the estimates, as well as see where it was necessary to make ‘educated guesses’ for different parameters.  This tool could be used as a way to assess the potential health impacts of different studies as well as assess the potential benefits of social programs aimed at specific kinds of sexual education.

The STD Risk Assessment Project (STRAP?) is just in the beginning stages.  We are now in the midst of creating a ‘proof of concept’ model based on HIV.  Feedback, collaborators, and funding opportunities are being sought.  Please leave any comments here or on the individual pages for feedback.  Also please feel free to write to us at

info [at] stdinformation [dot] org

Especially write if you feel a draw to get involved in anyway.  Please check out the Help Needed page for some ideas about how you might get involved or be able to help.

We hope you think that this is an interesting initiative.  We feel it has the potential to help improve the quality of life for people around the world, as well as to save lives.

Conversations have been running for the past year sporadically and informally about the project.  This web site is meant to facilitate making some of these conversations more formal and eventually to making the team, as a group comes together with the appropriate skills represented and sufficient affinity of intentions and available time and energy for the project.  At the beginning it will necessarily be volunteer run, but the intention is to create a non-profit in order be able to fund raise and get together a paid staff able to devote themselves fully to the project.


Karl Frost and Cody Ross

PS.  For a 2-page project summary in pdf format, click here