Diagnosing STDs, through an app?

Going to the doctor for a suspected STD (sexually transmitted disease) can be awkward and embarrassing.  Even if you are getting annual or biannual routine testing for STD’s, the entire experience can be uncomfortable for a lot of people.  This is especially true for the younger generation of sexually active adults who may be experiencing some of these symptoms or worries for the first time.  But what if you could find out if you had an STD from the privacy of your own home? It would probably make life a lot easier – and a lot less embarrassing.  Planned Parenthood might have the right idea launching an app that will do just that.

Planned Parenthood is launching an app that helps patients diagnose STD’s without actually having to go in to see the doctor face-to-face.  This will save people the awkward sex and STD conversation with their doctor, and maybe even make them more willing to get checked for potential infections.  Having an app that can take the embarrassment out of a potentially serious medical situation can help a lot of people, and remove the cringe factor from getting STD tested.   One reason why this campaign is set to work is because of the wide use of smart phones and the availability of diagnosis at your fingertips.  Having an app that will ensure easy, and discreet STD diagnosis will help people get the help they need faster.  


The app from Planned Parenthood is set to launch within the next week and will give at least California women the chance for easy STD testing.  The app is called Planned Parenthood Direct, and is available through Apple i-phone and Android app stores.  With a few clicks on the app, California residents can order testing kits that include pee cups to test for STD’s within the privacy of their own home.  The test kit arrives in discreet packaging, going along with the theme, and easy instructions on how to provide and return your urine sample back to Planned Parenthood labs. Even better, users can get their results through the app they used to order their STD testing kit.  This keeps results private, and makes treatment for positive results easier.  If a user tests positive for either STD, the next step in treatment can be made.  For those with chlamydia, antibiotics can be sent to a local pharmacy through the app – and for those faced with gonorrhea, an appointment for an antibiotic shot can be scheduled at the nearest Planned Parenthood health center.

For now, the kit only tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea but as the project gets off the ground testing and the location where the app can be used will expand.   Online health services are one of the most successful health trends currently happening around us.  Through this app, Planned Parenthood has taken advantage this growing market and used it to increase access and convenience of care – especially in the care of STD’s.  This app will be especially convenient for people with busy schedules or who do not live near a health center.  Those populations will have better access to testing, and will be more likely to get treated quickly.  

What’s on the horizon?  Besides expanding the types of STD tests offered as well as providing testing for those outside California, Planned Parenthood is running another pilot program in Minnesota and Washington State.  The other app in these two states will offer video consultations with a nurse practitioner for birth control, prescriptions, and STD testing.  The new mobile apps will surely reach many more people than was possible before.  Increased reach of care also allows for more personalized care especially in matters that may be a bit harder to talk about.