Imagine: You’ve hooked up with a new partner and want to know about their sexual history. You could ask. That might get awkward. Or you could look it up online. With stdcarriers.com, that’s now a possibility.
The website based out of Oregon aims to inform people about “potential sources of incurable sexually transmitted diseases” in 21 countries. These “potential sources” are supposedly STI positive individuals who have been reported to the website. Anyone with an account can report someone as having an STI. The website has an “information storage and distribution service that is fully operational 24 hours a day 7 days a week,” guaranteeing that any reports are quickly published on the website.
That’s not all. Reported profiles are loaded with personal information: Last name, city, age, profile picture, and sexual orientation to name a few. It’s like Facebook with STIs.
Just like Facebook, it raises questions over privacy and freedom of speech.
In one sense, stdcarriers.com attempts to promote sexual safety and awareness. They hope to help people “protect their health” with “informed alertness.” The website provides info on STIs, and encourages sexually active people to stay informed.
However, the information on the website is woefully inadequate. The stigma of STIs is increased, even encouraged by stdcarriers.com. What should be a private issue between consenting adults becomes a public blame and shame game.
Furthermore, no proof is required to report someone. All someone needs is an email address to create an account, and voila. Instant revenge against an ex, a rude colleague, or anyone else a pissed off person wants to get back at.
True, stdcarriers.com will remove reports that are proven to be false. Yet, the damage is still done.
So, what happens if someone uploaded a fake report, or a true report that they don’t want published? How does someone get it removed?
There are two routes: Prove they are STI free, or appeal to the No Limit List Corporate Advocacy Program.
To prove they are infection free, reported individuals must go to a doctor’s office and get screened for STIs. They then must send their clean test results to the website’s office in Portland. Once the test results have been received and reviewed, the report gets removed. Of course, snail mail takes a while, so a reported individual might not be taken off the website for quite some time.
If individuals can’t get a clean screening they then may appeal to No Limit List Corporate Advocacy Program (NLLCAP). NLLCAP can remove “negative information from search engines”, so your privacy is restored. However, a hefty fee is charged for this service. A “Bronze Package” starts at $399.99 regular price.
As a final option, stdcarriers.com suggests, “find whoever listed you and do to them as you would like.” This includes, “fil[ing] a lawsuit for defamation, have them arrested for criminal harassment, and turn the tables on them by listing their deeds online.” Ah, the old screw with me (pardon the pun) and I’ll litigate your ass. Classic.
If you are looking for information on STIs and safe sex, I recommend sexualhealth.com. It provides in depth knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, without the blaming and shaming of stdcarriers.com.
Otherwise, talk to your partner about your sexual history. Listen, and don’t judge. And always, always, always, practice safe sex.