Alaun and Ryan Buckley came up with the idea to create a website offering anonymous STD third-party notification in a very simplistic and safe environment. The drive behind this project came when Alaun learned a close friend of his had tested positive for HPV and had subsequently developed pre-cancerous cells. Feeling compelled to do something, he began researching the virus and discovered there is currently no effective test for men. Thus, in November 2011, Dontspreadit.com was established. The anonymous, third-party STD/STI notification site is currently available in 27 languages and utilized by over 131 countries.
When asked about their most rewarding experience with the success of Dontspreadit, Co-Founder Ryan Buckley said, “Not only when we hear directly from people who have benefited from our service but when we hear from people around the world it reaffirms our sense of purpose. It reminds us that we’re a global notification service serving a global problem.”
The rise in STD cases have attracted many people to Dontspreadit because of the user’s ability to send a quick email or text to anyone who may have been exposed to an STD. The awareness propels those who may have been infected to seek treatment and hopefully get cured quickly.
“We’d like everyone to be aware of how serious the STI epidemic is, and that services that promote communication and notification should be taken seriously.”, says Buckley. “Receiving a notification that you have been exposed to a chronic STI can have a crippling impact on that person. So please don’t abuse the service.”
With the risk of prank calling and false alarms, Buckley hopes to be able to diminish these cases and offer resources for those who have been victimized. “As anyone could guess, Dontspreadit is prone to pranks, which decreases the overall legitimacy of a notification. We’d like to explore offering a paid phone notification service. We believe some users would be interested in utilizing a more professional and quality notification. Texts and emails can come off as being ‘cheap’ on both ends of the message.”
Despite the risks, Buckley believes the benefits outway the chance of falsity. “While the potential for abuse exist, we believe the benefits of the service justify the risk of abuse. Either way it should lead to more people getting tested, and hopefully less people spreading it. We do take abuse and false notifications seriously, and if we’ve gotten better at anything over the years, it’s been that. You can reply STOP to a text message to blacklist your number. We have a blacklist that a person can add their email or phone to as well. We also have restrictions on number of messages, for instance a person may only be sent 2 notifications per day.”
When faced with criticism of the site and services, the Buckleys keep an open door policy. “We welcome all feedback as it assists with maintaining perspective. We’ve set out to bridge a communication gap between partners. If there are aspects or angles of this gap that we’ve either overlooked or misinterpreted, this feedback provides us the opportunity to make course corrections as needed.”