Let’s be honest — does anyone really go to South by Southwest for the keynotes? Often hailed as “geek spring break,” South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) turns the city of Austin, Texas, into a sprawling bacchanalian hot mess — one with hook-ups aplenty, even for us geek types. 

A Different Kind of Awkward For The STD Talk

In one of the better press releases to grace my inbox this week, a company called Qpid.me wants to help you achieve your ultimate SXSW 2013 goal: Getting laid, you know, without all of those nasty drawbacks to promiscuity. From the press release:

It’s a known fact that there is a huge amount of “Sex” that happens at SXSW as creators, indie film makers, up-and-coming stars flock there to spark ideas, find investors, create together and…have sex…. But is the free love of the festival worth the after effects of coming home with an unwanted gift like some Spring Breakers, an STD?

Qpid is a social network with the well-meaning mission of making it easier for people to share verified information about sexual health status before they shack up. While it would make way more sense as an app, it isn’t one — although the information can be shared via text.

Of course, that’s only one reality hurdle standing in the way. The founder of Qpid is obviously well-meaning, but in practice the whole process is no less awkward than the analog version of the same conversation, although it does add verified test results for nasties like HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea into the mix.

Qpid Means Well…

Of course, if all of the people you know on OkCupid were on Qpid too, that would be an awesome thing. So would be a world in which we weren’t all so weird about talking about sexual health in the first place. But they aren’t and we still are, for whatever reason. If you’re willing to broach the conversation at all after a long night on Sixth Street and you’ve both conquered your health care provider’s likely reticence to disclose medical records to something that sounds like a hookup app… well, bully for you! Keep up the good work! Etc.

There’s bound to be a handful of success stories out there, but until culture catches up to technology, most of us will still be just as squeamish talking about the ickier parts of sex — with a tool like Qpid or without it.

Image of date via Shutterstock