Front End

The Front End of the website is where people come who want to get an assessment of the risks for participating in different kinds of sex acts with different forms of protection, both for themselves and for their partner.  It should be very flexible so that people can choose their level of complexity and detail and where there will be some communication of the kind of tradeoffs that you get from simplifying vs getting more specific. For example each question has a beginning interface that is relatively simple, but with clearly indicated drop-down menus for added complexity.

It should have a truly universal appeal, regardless of country, income or educational bracket, political or religious persuasion, reflected in both a simple, neutral aesthetic and lack of judgment.  People should use this to make better decisions, regardless of other people’s judgments about the choices they are making. It should be equally useful to a teens dating, someone considering sex with a prostitute, a foreign traveler considering sleeping with someone in an unfamiliar country, same sex and hetero partners, people negotiating open relationship, etc.  No judgment.  Simply a tool for helping everyone evaluate and understand risk, so that we can all collaborate on minimizing the spread of STDs and so we all accurately understand the trade-offs we make as we compromise on protection during sex in any form.

The site takes no identifying information from people.  You are asked to give as much information about yourself as you can… demographic information, STD status, sexual history, etc.  You are then asked to do the same for your partner.  At each stage you would be offered possibilities to get more specific with your answers. You will also be asked for your specific sexual history with this partner.

At this point, you could be given a chart of STD status and transmission probabilities, which reflects also on rates of false positive and false negative tests in the population. In other words, you get an assessment of the chance that either you or your partner is already infected with an STD. At each step, there would be side panels with ‘more information’ links that act to educate people about STD dynamics to the extent that they are willing to invest their time.

From here, you can then ask for the risks of future behaviors or sets of behaviors,  for example, protected intercourse, but unprotected oral sex in combination, vs just one or the other… whatever.  You could ask for the results for individual STDs or for a comprehensive list of known STDs.  You could also ask for a version of the results in terms of potential health impacts and their probabilities.

Of course, each STD would have links to other pages or sites that give descriptions of the STD, clearance rates, health impacts and their respective probabilities, etc.

The results would all be in odds or probabilities and would have very simple comparisons of other risks to which people are frequently exposed, like odds at specific gambling games or the odds of death or injury while riding in a car through a typical city. This will allow people who are not great with juggling probabilities to get a feel for what these numbers mean.

The format will be flexible, so that the user can, again, choose the amount of information they want to offer and also receive, so that people can negotiate their own capacity for taking in complexity.