If you've ever felt anxious about getting tested for a sexually transmitted infection, you're not the only one. But that shouldn't stop you from taking care of your sexual health — and with a new app called Biem, you might be able to get all that testing done from the comfort of your own home.
The free app, which is available for download now, aims to be a resource for people to get tested and talk to their partners about STIs. Its main features allow users to talk to doctors one-on-one via video chat, as well as get tested for STIs at home or in a local lab. Users can either use the app to schedule testings with a local lab, or have a technician come to them at home (at an extra cost).
Users can also receive results of their tests directly on the app, as well as get notified if any sexual partners have tested positive for an STI. Of course, that will only happen if your partner is also on the app, and the two of you have "connected." In order to make sure that this feature doesn't infringe upon any privacy concerns, the user's information and the STI they tested positive for would be anonymous, though if you only connected with one person on the app, it would probably be pretty clear as to who it was.
Bryan Stacy, Biem founder and CEO, said in a statement shared with Refinery29 that he began developing the app after being diagnosed with chlamydia and testicular cancer on the same day. He created Biem, he said, to make sure that anyone who may not be able to make it to a doctor right away would still be able to take care of their health.
"I realized that the worst part of the entire experience was the two-month period before I was diagnosed — the time during which I felt something was wrong, but rationalized it away," he said in the statement. "I knew I had to eliminate the barriers that keep people in this damaging loop."
Stacy told Refinery29 in a statement that all doctors you'd speak to on the app are board-certified and very carefully vetted.
"Biem hand selects every single one of its providers, and they look to see that they've had previous experience in a sexual health setting in order to ensure that they not only specialize in this area, but that they approach it without judgement," he said.
Users will also be able to rate and review doctors in order to ensure that the medical team is always as effective as they can be.
Last year, the CDC found that STI rates were at an all-time high in the U.S., in part due to the fact that fewer people may have access to testing. While it remains to be seen how effective online sexual clinics really are, Biem might be taking a step in the right direction to make it easier for people to make sexual health a priority.
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