STD Wizard™   Online STD Risk Calculator

Information about the STD Wizard


What is the purpose of the STD Wizard?

"Do I have an STD?" is a commonly asked question. And it is not uncommon to have an STD (sexually transmitted disease) and show no symptoms. The STD Wizard online quiz lets any user find out which tests, treatments, and vaccines are recommended, based on their personal risk factors. In a few minutes, a user gets an accurate STD risk assessment, based on the best scientific information. The STD Wizard also saves health care providers time, and ensures the correct tests are ordered.

What is the scientific basis of the STD Wizard?

All the questions, recommendations, and logic in the STD Wizard are directly based on the 2010 STD Treatment Guidelines, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Why not just read the CDC Guidelines?

The guidelines are over 100 pages of dense, technical text. The text is far too complex for the general public to use for STD risk assessment, largely because the text is organized by infections, not by risk factors. Even a medical professional would find it quite tedious and error-prone to use the CDC Guidelines for doing risk assessments. The STD Wizard changes the complex, confusing risk assessment process into one that is easy, fast and accurate.

How was the STD Wizard developed?

The STD Wizard was funded by Cooperative Agreement TS-1052 from the CDC and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR). Kate Hendricks, science officer at the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MI), had the original idea for the STD Wizard. Kate had the lead role in obtaining funding and organizing the project. Daniel Goldman, owner of Expert Health Data Programming (EHDP), did all the technical development, and determined the screening logic from the CDC Treatment Guidelines. Daniel took part in every phase of the project. In addition to Daniel and Kate (both physicians), about eight clinicians and STD program directors reviewed the clinical logic. Sheetal Malhotra (MI) carried out an evaluation of the STD Wizard with 200 college students, and helped organize focus groups with teenagers to figure out question wordings and pictures to use. CDC staff provided support and feedback on many aspects of the project, and helped verify which portions of the Treatment Guidelines were updated. A Spanish native speaker was hired for translations. A graphic artist was hired to assist with graphic images. Patricia Thickstun (MI) and Anjum Khurshid (MI) also assisted with the project.

Does the STD Wizard make diagnoses?

No. The STD Wizard is useful and efficient for determining which STD tests and vaccinations are indicated. But the STD Wizard cannot make a diagnosis, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care. Having a test recommended is just the first step toward a possible diagnosis. You need to seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider concerning any medical condition.

What is the distinction between STD and STI?

STD = "Sexually transmitted disease". STI = "Sexually transmitted infection". Although STI is the newer term and is increasingly used by medical professionals, we have retained the acronym STD because it is used more often by the public.

Is the STD Wizard guaranteed to give the "right answer"?

No. Over a ten year period, the STD Wizard has been extensively tested and reviewed to conform to the CDC Treatment Guidelines. And the STD Wizard software has been carefully planned and written. To date, the software has proven correct and error-free, probably the most accurate and efficient way to determine which tests are needed. However, it is impossible to guarantee that the STD Wizard always gives the "right answer", for several reasons:

1) The STD Wizard recommends tests based on your personal risk factors, but not everyone with a risk factor contracts an STD, so the test may come back negative. 2) The CDC Treatment Guidelines are the best current scientific consensus of how to screen for STDs, but no such guideline is perfect; any clinical practice guideline evolves over time with new scientific knowledge. 3) You could contract an STD even with no known risk factors, for example if your partner contracts an STD and does not tell. 4) It is impossible to guarantee any complex software system (such as the STD Wizard) has no bugs.

Therefore, the STD Wizard is provided on an "as is" basis. The owners make no warranty or guarantee of correctness of the results, and assume no liability for any damages directly or indirectly resulting from the use of the STD Wizard. The final page of the STD Wizard lists the questions and responses that triggered the recommendations. So if you or your health provider have any concern, you can review the logic of why a particular test was recommended. Even if you have no questions about why a test was recommended, you are encouraged to review the logic, so that you can lower your future risk.

Does the STD Wizard protect user privacy?

Yes. We recognize the sensitive nature of the questions and responses. The STD Wizard does not use cookies. And no personal identifying information is stored by the program. A user on a public terminal, such as in a library, is reminded to close their browser and log out upon completing their self-assessment. We guarantee we will not collect or misuse your private information. But we cannot guarantee that a third party will not view your information, for example by looking over your shoulder, viewing a printout you throw away, accessing a computer while you step away, or using some specialized electronic method.

May I link to the STD Wizard?

Yes. We encourage schools, universities, health departments, hospitals, foundations, and clinics to link to the STD Wizard. We want as many as possible to benefit from knowing their STD risk.

If you link to the STD Wizard, we do require that you link to the www.stdtests.info home page. Linking to any other page results in the user not going in the right sequence. And please do not link to the old stdwizard.org and stdwizard.com domains - they will eventually stop working.

We suggest that you label the link with one of the following: "What STD Tests do I Need? Online Risk Calculator", "What STD Tests do I Need? Online Risk Assessment", "Do I have an STD? Online Risk Assessment", "Do I have an STD? Online Risk Calculator", or other appropriate text of your choosing. The STD Wizard does NOT evaluate symptoms or make diagnoses, so please make sure not to convey that impression.

Can my organization have a customized version of the STD Wizard?

Yes. As part of a contract service, we can make a customized STD Wizard for your organization. For example, the customized STD Wizard could direct users to local clinics. It could run on an intranet to serve and collect information on a clinic population. It could make recommendations based on other clinical practice guidelines of your choosing. Call Dr. Daniel Goldman at 888-709-5319 to discuss, or use our contact form.

What is the target audience for the STD Wizard?

· Teenagers and college students (those at highest risk).
· Question wording and photos were chosen with youth in mind.
· But any age can use the STD Wizard.

How does the STD Wizard work?

· It asks a series of multiple-choice questions to assess STD risk.
· It asks only the questions needed. No more, no less.
· After the questions are asked, the user gets a list of recommendations.
· The recommendations can be printed out, or sent to an email address.

Questions are based on the CDC Guidelines. A few examples:

· How old are you, in years?
· When was the most recent HIV test you had?
· Have you ever used recreational drugs?
· Have you ever had your penis in a male's mouth (receptive oral sex)?

Recommendations are based on the CDC Guidelines. A few examples:

· Cervical or urine test for chlamydia
· Hepatitis B vaccination
· Syphilis blood test
· Throat swab for gonorrhea

How many questions is a user asked?

· There are about 80 potential questions.
· The number asked depends on the user's responses.
· On average, 15 to 30 questions are asked.

How many recommendations does a user get?

· It totally depends on the user's risk factors.
· There are about 30 potential recommendations.
· In real-world use, tests are recommended for most users.

How much is the STD Wizard used?

· About 100 users per day run the STD Wizard.
· The great majority finish (get recommendations).
· We have had over 10,000 users per day run the wizard.

How does the STD Wizard know what question to ask next?

· A special program on the server reads a "logic file".
· The logic file tells which question to ask next.
· The program handles all the clinical guideline logic.
· And it knows exactly what leads to each recommendation.

What's the underlying technology?

· The STD Wizard is written in the C programming language.
· It runs in any browser: IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
· The STD Wizard "talks" to a web server to figure out what to do next.
· The front end is specially designed to work well on smart phones.

What does it look like? (Screenshots)

· Start point - www.stdtests.info is the entry point for the STD Wizard.
· First question - Also gives introduction.
· Sixth question - Typical STD Wizard question.
· Last question - Typical STD Wizard question.
· Recommendations - top - After all questions asked.
· Recommendations - middle - After all questions asked.
· Recommendations - bottom - After all questions asked.

Has the STD Wizard been evaluated?

· Yes. As part of an evaluation, 200 college students used the STD Wizard.
· Study participants were easily able to complete the STD Wizard.
· 88% found the software "very easy to use", 12% "easy to use".

STD Wizard PowerPoint Presentation

Contact information for developer:

Daniel Goldman, MD, MPH
1608 Glenwood Ave SE
Renton, WA 98058
425-271-6058 (888-709-5319)
dgoldman at domain (domain is ehdp.com)
Contact Form