Perhaps the only sex talk more awkward than the one you have with a parent as a kid is the one you have with a new partner as an adult about the date of their last STD test. Luckily, you may never have to linger on that conversation again, thanks to Healthvana, a new app, that allows you to send your STD test results directly to your partner via your smartphone.
Created by California health company of the same name, the (free!) app allows medical labs to send your STD test results to your phone so that you can show them to a new sexual partner, or even send them the results directly, if they download the app as well. The app is meant to provide quick and easy proof that you’ve recently been checked out, so that you can avoid spending too much time the sometimes uncomfortable question, “So when was the last time you got tested” or even worse, “That long ago?!”
“It’s no different if you went to the doctor and got a printout and showed [your partner] that," Healthvana founder Ramin Bastani told ABC News. "It's a digital version of, 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours.'”
But the app isn’t just about proving your health status to a partner. You can also use it to send your medical records to a new doctor. Plus, it allows patients to actually see their laboratory results, as opposed to the more common method utilized in doctors’ offices today, which is that they’ll call you only if something turns up. Even if you are the type of patient who insists on seeing their results (and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be), it can take forever to get someone on the phone or in the office to help you. “If I want to go back and get my record, it is such a nightmare," he points out. “And the whole time I am anxious and nervous.”
Of course, the concept isn’t perfect. Though Healthvana complies with patient privacy regulations by requiring users to enter through a secure portal, there are always potential security risks when it comes to mobile apps, and information as sensitive as medical results isn’t the kind you’d want compromised. Plus, users should keep in mind that this doesn’t make it any safer to skip using protection, as it will only reveal the results of the most recent test and shouldn’t be taken as definitive proof of a clean bill of health.
Ideally, women and men should be able to feel no awkwardness in protecting their own bodies by approaching the question of a partner’s STD status openly and non-judgmentally. Unfortunately, all too often, one or both parties feel so uncomfortable, they end up avoiding it altogether — despite that it could be crucial to their health. If this app could help people approach the topic more comfortably and spur more responsible sexual practices in both parties, that certainly seems like a step in the right direction.