A few decades ago, people usually got sex education via embarrassing talks with parents or grainy slideshows and videos shown in school classrooms. Now, since technology has taken off, ways to get educated about sex, and even confirm a sexually transmitted infection or disease have expanded, as well.
Tackling Sensitive Questions in a Text
It’s no secret that many people of all ages remain resistant to speak to healthcare providers in person about sexually related concerns, but this problem is particularly common in teenagers, perhaps because young people are afraid that a healthcare provider will spill the beans about an intimate relationship to a parent. An initiative in North Carolina called the BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line aims to cut out the potential embarrassment and make qualified help more accessible through a text message service available for teenagers aged 14 to 19 who reside in North Carolina.
Interested persons must send a text to opt into the service, and then can get ready to send questions. An answer will be provided within 24 hours, and common topics range from anatomical difficulties during sex to birth control, to sexual abuse in relationships. Although service providers cannot diagnose sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancies, they offer a referral service that can be helpful for people who need additional medical attention, but aren’t sure how to get it.
Britain Working to Provide Service that Diagnoses STDs with Mobile Devices
Throughout the United States, testing centers span the country from Miami to San Diego, making it simple for people to quickly and confidentially determine whether they have a sexually transmitted disease or infection. However, scientists in the United Kingdom are trying to perfect a system that would allow users to put urine or saliva onto a computer chip and then plug it into a mobile phone to find out if they have an STD in minutes.
The technology should be able to check for multiple STDs, and in an article from The Guardian, developers say that once the devices are released, they may be mass-produced and available in vending machines at nightclubs. Ideally, this ease of access would encourage young people to be more proactive instead ignoring potentially problematic symptoms. FPA, a British sexual health charity reports that people under the age of 25 are the most likely victims of actually transmitted infections in the United Kingdom, and since many people in this age group are also very technologically savvy, it makes sense why researchers are working hard to make it so people can look no further than their mobile phones to get sexual health help.
A Service Makes it Simpler to Share STD Test Results
If there’s anything harder than asking your partner to get tested for a sexually transmitted disease, perhaps it’s talking to them about the results. With that in mind, a new free website called Qpid.me helps people share their status through a text message or Internet link. Sharing is not required, and people only get access to the results once the person who’s has been tested allows it. Also, results come directly from a healthcare provider or testing center before getting uploaded to the Qpid.me server, which prevents people from self reporting results.
As these examples show, technology is making sexual health information more accessible to everyone, whether that means getting answers to sex questions through a text message or keeping a partner informed about test results, and the future seems poised to offer additional options as methods continue to progress.