Lisa, 24, has been single for years. She loves to date and takes her sexual health very seriously. However, when it comes time to talk testing, things have been known to get awkward.
“I can get kind of shy,” she said, admitting she’s been with men and never brought up STDs because she was nervous. “Now, I can just send them a text message. It does the talking for me.”
Yes, a text message. Lisa, who asked that only her first name be used in order to protect her privacy, is an frequent user of Qpid.me, a free website that helps anyone age 13 and up request their STD results from their doctor or clinic and share them with a potential partner via text message or an emailed link.
“We’ve generally been taught to keep this information very private, and this represents a paradigm shift,” said site founder and CEO Ramin Bastani. “We think the shareability of that information — verified information — is absolutely critical,” he said, likening the site to the “modern, flirtatious” version of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
Once users give sign up by providing some basic personal information — like their name, age, phone number — Qpid.me creates a records request that gets e-faxed to their doctor. When the results come back, users are able to share a one-time use link with anyone they want. The site shares results for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C antibody, as well as the HPV and hepatitis A vaccines, but does not include HPV and herpes status.
Qpid.me — which joins other sites like U Should Know and inSPOT (the latter sends anonymous postcards from users to past sexual partners saying that the user has since been diagnosed with an STD) — could also be a promising public health tool, Klausner said. The site speaks to a new, tech-savvy generation, she said. The estimates that 20 million new STD infections occur every year in the U.S., and half are among 15- to 24-year-olds. In young women, the consequences can be particularly devastating — the CDC also estimates that undiagnosed STDs cause nearly 25,000 women to become infertile every year.