Let’s talk about herpes.
Or rather, how technology can help people protect themselves from herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Luhu launched its platform today which gets people their STD test results faster and makes it easier (read: less awkward) to share with partners.
“While folks can go get a one-time test and tell someone that they tested negative for HIV, you’re trusting what that person is saying is true,” Luhu’s chief medical officer Dr. Mike Rosen said. “However, you have to ask, ‘When was that test done, and who has that person been with since that test?’ By joining Luhu, you’re markedly lowering your risk of getting an STD, or giving one to someone else.”
Luhu is for people who want to get regularly tested, not for one-off testers. It costs $92, which includes three months of membership, the first round of testing, lab visit, and services. After that, Luhu costs $10 a month.
The HIPAA-compliant platform shares verified STI test results with potential partners. It has no paperwork, which prevents the chance of falsified results. People have complete control over their results and who they share them with. Once someone who has been invited to view a user’s results, they must do so within 24 hours.
The CDC estimates that 20 million new STDs are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, costing the American health care system nearly $16 billion in medical costs alone. There are more than 110 million total STIs among men and amen across the nation.
It is both a pervasive and a preventable problem, one that puts millions of people at risk.
Sexually active people are supposed to get regularly screened for infections (in addition to all those prevention methods you learned in sex ed class). Asking potential sexual partners about their sexual/disease history is vitally important, but people are shy about broaching the subject with their dates. It’s an awkward discussion. And even people who do ask can’t be totally certain they are getting an honest response, which is where Luhu steps in.
Luhu has partnered with Quest Diagnostics, one of the country’s largest medical testing laboratories, which has 2,100 locations across the country. People make an appointment at one of these locations, get their blood drawn, and can access their results on Luhu three days after testing.
People getting regularly tested with Luhu earn badges, which are a quick symbol of their testing status. You have control for where these appear. Green means you have been tested and are healthy; green with star means six months of sexual health; and amber means caution, either due to a positive test result or a lapse in testing.
Free STD testing is widely available, and Luhu users have to pay out of pocket for the tests. The service makes sense for regular, rather than occasional, testers (and also aims to turn the latter into the former).
One half of all new sexually transmitted infections each year are among youth, and one in four teenagers carries an STD. Of the roughly 1.2 million people in the U.S. who are infected with HIV, 20 percent of them don’t even know they have it.
Regulations surrounding electronic health records are changing and people are getting more comfortable having their confidential health information online.
Healthcare tech has come a long way, and digital delivery systems, as well as health social networks, are becoming mainstream. Luhu is taking advantage of all these trends to keep sex the way it should be — fun, romantic, and disease-free.
Luhu is a product of Jam Health LLC, which is based in Towson, Md.