Dating apps are being blamed for a huge spike in HIV and STD cases in at least two states, but one company is using cell phones to reach young people who are using technology for high-risk sex.
An app called Healthvana sends same-day test results. The service also makes it easy to share results with romantic partners.
HIV cases in Rhode Island increased by 33 percent and syphilis by 79 percent from 2013 to 2014. Rhode Island Department of Health credits some of the increase to better testing, but claim social apps play a significant role.
"High-risk behaviors include using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol," the department outlined in a report.
Healthvana CEO Ramin Bastani says the same technology helping people hook up, can also correct the sexual health problems they're causing. His app allows users to get test results in hours on their cell phones.
"Even in the analog world, people want to ask that question: 'Hey, have you been tested?'" said Bastani. "You can say-- 'Yeah, of course I have'-- but there's no way to actually prove it unless you pull out your lab report."
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The app also makes the results easy to share with romantic partners. Some users even post screenshots on social media.
Not everyone is on board with the idea. R.J. Barron-- a young person living in Colorado-- says he wouldn't use the app.
"It sounds kind of invasive--to be honest-- to publicize a bit as far as the STD market goes. It's a bit awkward to me," said Barron.
Healthvana says it's just a new way to show you care about your partner's health, without the awkward talk.
The app also features maps of nearby test sites. It's similar to Yelp, but for medical screenings.
Users do have to go to a provider who uses the app to take advantage of the service.