Is it a run-of-the-mill ingrown hair or a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease? The two are often confused. A new iPhone app, STD Triage, released today (March 6) by the makers of iDoc24, an app to assess skin problems, offers assessments of possible STDs by licensed dermatologists.
“After my first app, iDoc24 was created, we noticed that an overwhelming amount — over 30 percent — of the cases submitted were STD related,” Dr. Alexander Börve, the founder of both health apps, said in a statement.
Self-diagnosis of STDs can often be wrong, and many are reluctant to consult a doctor because of embarrassment. STD Triage allows users to anonymously gather information to find out whether what they see is indeed signs of an STD. If an assessment indicates an STD, Börve said users may feel compelled to seek treatement.
STDs continue to be a prevalent health problem in the United States with 19 million new cases being reported every year. In fact, as many as one in two people will get an STD by the time they are 25 years old, Börve said. Left untreated, STDs may have serious consequences such as infertility or increased risk of cancer.
Here's how it works. Download the free app from the App Store. Take a picture of the skin problem and submit it to STD Triage, along with the form describing your symptoms and brief sexual history: "have you had unprotected sex in the last month?" (You will not be asked to send personal identification information such as your name or email address.) Your request is then reviewed by a dermatologist, who will respond within 24 hours. Users then pay $10 to read the assessment.
STD Triage can be used only for conditions with external symptoms, but the app includes information about common STDs of all kinds. Further, the app uses a phone's geolocation capabilities to pinpoint nearby clinics and pharmacies on a map for those seeking treatment.