Sexual health and responsibility has gone hi-tech.
A new smartphone application allows users to instantly share sexually transmitted infection screening results by simply activating the app and â€œbumpingâ€ each otherâ€™s phone against one another.
After tapping phones, a screen pops up showing the latest STD screening results for each user.
The $1.99 application, Check-Mate, is currently available for the iPhone with an Android version set to be released next month.
The app was created by STFree Certifications and released last December.
Started in 2004 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Darcy, STFree Certifications promotes sexual responsibility and the importance of getting tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases.
Darcy said one of the main goals behind the app is not only to encourage people to get tested, but to get them talking about sexual health and assuming personal responsibility. He said a lot of times people avoid bringing up a conversation about STDs with a new partner even though itâ€™s a valid concern for both parties.
â€œItâ€™s a good way to get that conversation started,â€ Darcy said. â€œThe Check-Mate app is a really balanced way of bringing up the subject.â€
After downloading the app and setting up an account, users are sent a confirmation email along with a Screening Verification Form. The user can use the app to locate an authorized screening facility, make an appointment, get tested and then turn in the SVF form.
Once the screening is completed, the SVF form is returned to the user along with screening results.
Users then follow the instructions on the SVF form to submit the results for final verification and full activation of their Check-Mate app.
Susan Wolfelt, physician and director of the Womenâ€™s Clinic at the CSU Health Network said that getting screened regularly and knowing your status is important because early detection allows for the best treatment options. She cautioned against oversimplifying sexual health.
â€œSexual health is complex, and to get a full picture of your partnerâ€™s past, you must have an in-depth conversation,â€ Wolfelt said. â€œIn short, this app is a great way to get people talking about sexual health, but it should not be relied upon as method for reducing sexual risks.â€
Darcy stressed that just because someone tests negative for STDs doesnâ€™t mean they can let their guard down and have unprotected sex. He said the Check-Mate app is another layer of protection for an overall healthy sex life.
â€œItâ€™s not to guarantee anyoneâ€™s status because someone can get infected right after they get tested. Thatâ€™s not a fault with our app, thatâ€™s just the way it goes with getting tested. But what this does is it shows a level of responsibility,â€ Darcy said. â€œIt says, â€˜Look, Iâ€™ve tested myself and Iâ€™m proud to show you.â€
Darcy said that â€œbringing to lightâ€ people who do the right thing and get screened regularly might lessen the stigma associated with STDs and encourage other people to get tested.
â€œSomeone might say, â€˜Look, my friend went out and got tested, I didnâ€™t know they did that and it wasnâ€™t that bad, maybe Iâ€™ll go and get tested myself,â€™â€ Darcy said.
Sophomore wildlife biology major Sarah Williams said she thought the app was a good idea as long as people used it responsibly and donâ€™t use it as a â€œwarrantâ€ to have unprotected sex.
â€œIf it makes people think twice before having a (sexual) relationship, then it works. It makes sense to have it on a smartphone,â€ Williams said. â€œYouâ€™re not going to carry the paper results around.â€
Collegian writer Austin Briggs can be reached at email@example.com.
What is it: Check-Mate smartphone application
Who makes it: STFree Certifications
What it does: Allows you to share your STD screening results with a potential sex partner and find and locate testing facilities.