In the age of Seamless and Amazon’s Dash button, it’s about time someone figured out a way to deliver sexual health to your door! This week, Planned Parenthood launched an app that lets you order a confidential STD test without ever stepping foot inside a clinic or having to interact with an actual person. (Check out 13 Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask Your Ob-Gyn.)
Here’s how it works: For $150, you can order a urine test kit from Planned Parenthood Direct. You send the test out to a lab where they test for chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most common STDs in the U.S. The app will notify you of your results once they’re in (which the company says takes the same time it would take to get results back at your doc’s office). If the results are positive for chlamydia, the program orders a prescription to your local pharmacy for treatment, and if they’re positive for gonorrhea, it prompts you to make an appointment at a local clinic for the injection treatment.
“We understand that life gets busy, and this way, consumers can access STD testing without needing to make an appointment,” Jill Balderson, vice president of health innovation at Planned Parenthood, told Vox. “They can order a kit to their home, send the samples back, and get their results securely and discreetly.”
This genius (and helpful!) foray into the mobile health world is to be expected of Planned Parenthood, which is already the largest provider of reproductive health services in the country. But even they are the first to admit that this convenience comes at a trade-off—digitizing this procedure means people won’t be having crucial follow-up conversations, like the importance of condoms and birth control. But the app is only meant to take over the parts of a doctor’s visit that don’t necessarily need a doctor. “Online care shouldn’t replace a relationship with a provider,” Balderson said. “It’s one avenue to increase convenience, but we’re also looking to make sure we refer to health-care centers when we need to, as well.” Plus, this only makes two of the STD tests convenient. If you aren’t sure what your infected partner has, you still need to go in and get a full workup. (Find out How to Talk To Him About Your STI Status.)
Right now, Planned Parenthood Direct is just available in California, but the company has plans to take the program national. “Within five years, things like this will be commonplace in virtually every state,” Balderson predicts. There is also talk of expanding the services into other areas of reproductive health, like access to birth control refills without a doctor’s visit. While we’d never understate the importance of visiting your doc if something’s up, we’re all for a product that makes healthcare more personal and accessible. And not having to deal with waiting room lines? That’s just an added bonus.