Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 High Tech Tools For STDs: How They Work and Surprising Ways They're Used

We can all agree that managing your sexual health can be a royal pain in the ass but it’s not only incredibly important, it’s necessary. Admitting you may have screwed up by not using a condom, confessing you haven’t gotten tested, and pleading guilty to never having the STI/STD conversation with your partner is not easy. Ok, it can be really, really hard.

Just so you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20% of Americans with HIV, or about 240,000 people, are unaware they are positive. Since these people don’t know their status, they cause between 54% and 70% of new HIV infections each year. It also has become big problem amongst our youth as 60% of youth (ages 13-24) do not know they are infected. I know, right?

HIV/STD Home Testing

#1 BeforeWeDo: Yes, that is us... Excuse the ruthless self-promotion but this is after all our blog ;-). So, how are we to get better about routinely knowing our HIV status you ask? Sign up for an In-Home STD test subscription. The shipped FDA approved rapid HIV tests allow you to take a swab of your saliva and get your results in 20 minutes - no lab, no blood and no needles. Based on your risk, you receive the tests automatically when it is recommended for you to screen. It’s the easiest way to do the responsible thing. P.S Don’t worry about your neighbors snooping to see what the package is, it’ll come in a brown paper wrapping so your privacy is protected (In-Home Gonorrhea and Chlamydia to be included upon user request).

Now let's look at our friends out there! Here’s a list of additional sexual health techies who created high tech online tools for STI/STD prevention:

Partner’s Health Verification

#2 In just a mere 3 minutes you can you can send a request to the location or doctor where you got last tested, get your STD test results uploaded, and Voila, you are ready to share your test results to your next hook-up or new beau. “Don’t believe I’ve recently gotten tested and that I’m clean?” “Ok, fine. Let me send you a quick text to share my results.” “See, I told ya.” What a clever way to help us “spread the love and nothing else," Ramin Bastani.

Screenshot of 5/29/13
Surprising way it’s used: “I never expected people to use as an ice-breaker!  We hear stories of people using it at bars/clubs as an interesting opener.” - Ramin Bastani, Founder/CEO of

Partner Notification

#3 So They Can Know: Once you get tested, you can have the STD convo by anonymously sending an email or a video to your “sexy” partner. “What, you mean, asking your partner to get tested doesn’t have to be so damn awkward anymore?” “Nope.” As a fellow MPH graduate myself, thank you Jessica Lad for making this a little easier.

Screenshot of 5/29/13

#4 InSPOT: You have a casual hook-up or you just got into a new relationship. How do you say “Um, there’s a big chance you may have contracted an STI/STD from me.” Craft an anonymous message, choose your card to your liking, and send to your one night stand. What's even better is that these cards link back to interactive maps of free and low cost STI/STD testing sites.
Deb Levine (Founder/Executive Director of YTH), smart move to encourage us tell the truth, thanks.
Screenshot of 5/29/13

Skin related diagnostics

#5 STD Triage (powered by IDoc24): Got a Burning Question? Here’s your chance to submit an anonymous image of your (insert genital type) to a group of licensed dermatologists. Get a first response within 24 hours about what skin problem your best piece might have, pretty quick eh? Alexander Borve, you’ve just saved us countless hours of worrying.
Screenshot of STD Triage App 5/29/13
Surprising way it’s used: “25% actually have something like herpes, syphilis or genital warts. The most common is herpes. Comparing "users" from Sweden and USA, the cases that come in from Sweden are actual diseases while cases from the U.S are more frequently benign. Maybe this has to do with sexual education?”  - Alexander Borve, Founder/CEO iDoc24

So... which sextech tool have you used?


  1. Wow, actually rolled out in a pilot project in high schools in Southern California! Now lets talk controversy! :)

    Actually not a bad idea since doctors tend to not test young folks for STDs:

  2. These new tools are a great addition but I see no problem in approaching your clinician and asking for an STI Screen; if they are not open to this discussion, engage them: open the communication because some clinicians are either uncomfortable to bring it up, or they make assumptions. Current guidelines dictate that anyone having sex with new partner SHOULD be tested routinely. The problem lies in the societal connotations attached to an STI infection. If one is unlucky enough to get an infection, the assumption is that he or she has done something wrong. There can be moral judgements attached to a positive result; such labels and biases can intimidate people from testing or even discussing results, for fear of chasing away a potential mate. These are disease processes that can be acquired even though one has taken every reasonable precaution. Early sexual education and discussion is key in prevention. The problem lies in the definition of "early", this has been a heated debate between liberals and conservatives for many years.

  3. I agree that you should be able to talk to your doctor about getting tested. However, what about those who don't have insurance or have no PCP at all? There is also issues around people not knowing what to ask their doctors and knowing that its their responsibility to ask to get tested in the first place. There is still so much social stigma with getting tested in and outside the doctors office. Part of a way of changing it is educating you as a patient to take more control over your sexual health and to take the initiative.


Thoughts? Comments? You can post anonymously or with your name... up to you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

The Maker of this Blog: