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Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
When people meet a new romantic interest, they probably ask them a lot of questions such as where they went to school, what their job is and what their hobbies are. One thing they probably don't ask, but should, is about the last time they utilized STD testing services. Luckily, there is now a new website designed to help people broach this sometimes difficult subject.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported on a website called Qpid.me, which allows people to register their STD test results online in a secure way so they can put their partner's mind at ease.
How does it work?
The news source spoke to the website's creator Robert Bastani who explained that when people register with Qpid.me, their identity is verified and then fill out an online form requesting records from the doctor's office or testing sites regarding the last time they were tested for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and hepatitis C, and what the results were. They can also post information regarding when they were vaccinated for HPV and hepatitis A. The results are sent to a Qpid.me account, where it is kept entirely confidential. People can send their account information via text or email to whoever they want, or they will remain confidential.
Bastani said he was inspired to create the site after meeting a woman at a bar and having an unpleasant experience when he asked her if she had any STDs. He said the situation became extremely uncomfortable, and he thought there should be a simpler way to share STD information.
The Los Angeles Times stated that Bastani has no plans to charge for the services.
How to broach the subject
Even people who use the services of Qpid.me may still be uncomfortable asking people about their STD testing history, considering the stigma behind these infections. GoAskAlice.com is a website run by Columbia University that offers helpful sexual advice. According to the website, when people meet a new potential sexual partner they shouldn't be afraid to ask about STDs, because it's an important topic. The first thing they recommend is for people to use language they are comfortable with, but to be direct and say exactly what they need to know.
It's important to for individuals to stress the fact that they are asking about STDs because they care about health, not because they suspect that the other person "sleeps around." Furthermore, people can't just ask if their partners have and STD, but also when the last time they were tested was. People should be tested for STDs at least once a year, and more often depending on how many sexual partners they have had.
It's also important for people to ask about STDs before they have engaged in sexual activity with someone, not after when it is already too late. Many STDs, such as syphilis and chlamydia, do not have any symptoms in the early states, so people can't be sure if they are infected unless they get tested. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that out of the 1.2 million Americans with HIV, one in five is unaware that they have the virus. People need to get tested for their sake and the health of any future sexual partners, particularly if they have had unprotected sex recently with a new partner. Also, everyone should remember that using condoms greatly reduces the risk of contracting an STD.
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