Medical Daily (05.30.2013)
To counter high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), commercial and nonprofit innovators have developed solutions for tech-savvy users to stay healthy or share their STI status with partners.
The Qpid.me free Web site helps people make informed decisions about sexual partners by allowing the user to share “verified” STI test results with potential partners. Qpid.me users can share HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis test results directly from their healthcare providers. Results include date of testing and notification that the person may have had sex since the test.
The STDTriage application allows the user to submit a photo and a brief description of a skin problem to a licensed dermatologist, who directs the user to the right level of care within approximately six hours. The service costs $40. Although the Stockholm-based tele-dermatology company iDoc24 originally developed the app for general skin problems, the service quickly became popular for STIs because of the anonymity the app offered. STDTriage provides information about the inquiry and recommends follow-up with a dermatologist or STD clinic.
Sexual Health Innovations, a US nonprofit that focuses on using technology to promote sexual health and wellbeing, developed sotheycanknow.org. The service presents STD information and sexual health resources, and allows users to send an anonymous e-mail, text, or e-card to inform partners that they may have been exposed to an STI. Sotheycanknow.org aims to “fill in the gaps” for people unwilling or unable to inform their partners of STI risk.
CDC estimates that approximately half of US STIs occur among people ages 15 to 24. Although the consequences of STIs such as human papillomavirus are often worse for women, the number of STIs is almost equal among women (51 percent) and men (49 percent). The United States spends approximately $15.6 billion each year treating the eight most common STIs.