inSpot.org is a website which lets you anonymously notify someone by email that they have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as a venereal disease (VD) or even HIV / AIDS.
Even if they haven’t.
The concept is noble, and it should come as no surprise that the service was founded in San Francisco. The idea is to make it easy for someone to tell their sex partners – all of their sex partners – that they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
In theory, this service can save lives – and perhaps already has.
The problem is that you can send the pre-written “you’ve had sex with an infected person” ecards to anyone – anyone at all – anonymously.
The potential for pranking – or even maliciously ruining someone’s life – is huge.
I mean, what a great way to anonymously let someone know that their spouse has been cheating on them – even if they haven’t? Just send the spouse one of these “you’ve been exposed through sex” ecards, and cc: their husband or wife, and voila! Instant divorce.
Nearly 50,000 “better get that checked” ecards have been sent through inSpot.org since 2004.
I wonder how many of them were legitimate, and how many were pranks?
According to inSpot, their click-through rate is pretty high, too. No surprise there, really. Wouldn’t you check it out if you got one of these things in your inbox? Interestingly, while the response rate from cards sent to people in Idaho is at a nearly unheard of 48%, people in Los Angeles who receive these notices of STD exposure click through for the information just barely 20% of the time.
So, notifications of STD exposure by anonymous email – an idea whose time has come, or well-intended but too fraught with problems?
Personally, I think a policy of only having sex with someone you can face in the morning when it’s time for the hard discussions is a better way to go. But maybe that’s just me.
What do you think?
You can check out the online STD notices from inSpot here. It’s kind of interesting to note how they have customized the notices depending on the area of the country to which you will be sending them.
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