The Future of Safer Sex Has Arrived
You’re out on the town. You see someone you like. You strike up a conversation, you buy the second round. They buy the third. You’re laughing, having a good time. You’re thinking you could take this conversation home and see what happens.
You pull out your phone. They pull out theirs. You bump phones and receive each other’s STI and HIV results. All clear. You step outside together and grab the next cab.
We’re that much closer to this scenario, with Chec-Mate, an iPhone app that allows you to share your sexual health status with someone instantly. Created by STFree Certifications, this is the first app of its kind. STFree Certifications, launched in 2004, is responsible for the Safer Sex License, a personal smart card that allows potential partners to access your test results by phone.
The license, recognized by the Centers for Disease Control, can be acquired through any clinic or private doctor. You get screened and ask the entity providing the screening to send your results to STFree, which issues your license. When you meet someone new, they call the number on the back of your card, give your number and they verify your STI and HIV status.
As Boinkology noted in 2008 when the license reached critical mass, however, this is not a perfect system:
Of course, knowing the date of someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last STI test doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t guarantee that theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re STI free Ã¢â‚¬â€ but STFree is very clear that thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the purpose of the program. What theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trying to do is encourage couples to talk about STIs and getting tested, and encourage people to be educated and responsible.
And it’s certainly better than going into it completely blind.
Now, STFree has upped the ante with Chec-Mate, which provides a similar service without cards or phone calls.
“We are excited that advancements in technology have provided us with an opportunity to be the first to provide the world a secure platform to safely exchange lifesaving informationÃ¢â‚¬Â says Eli Dancy, founder of STFree Certifications.
The app, which is currently only available for iPhone can be downloaded at the Apple App Store for $1.99, which includes a year of activation. Users download the app, register and receive a confirmation e-mail which includes a “Screening Verification Form” (SVF) attachment.
The user then uses the app to find an authorized screening facility. They make an appointment, take their form, turn it in, and get screened. When their screening is complete, the SVF form is returned with the screening results. Users then follow the instructions on the SVF form to submit their results to STFree for full app activation.
“Today’s smart phones provide people with information on any and everything we can possibly think of — why not information that can save your life?” STFree president Patrick Malcolm says. “Doctors and health professionals have been telling us for years to make informed decision by exchanging screening information before becoming intimate. We are simply providing a simple and safe information path.”
As with the Safer Sex License, Chec-Mate doesn’t guarantee that the individual doesn’t have an STI, but brings one that much closer. Per their site: “The Chec-Mate application was developed to provide application users with a safe, secure and confidential platform to share important STI/HIV screening information and prevent individuals from providing false or misleading screening results that can be produced solely using outdated paper methods.”
Currently, Check-Mate doesn’t have bump technology, but that feature is in development.
http://www.facebook.com/mychaeltodd Mychaeltodd Robinson