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Cellphones Might Be the Newest Way to Test Yourself for STDs

October 2, 2015
std test

For many, the thought of being tested for STDs is embarrassing and terrifying. Many patients who suffer from painful or uncomfortable issues are too embarrassed to get tested, and are worried about what their doctor might think of them. However, a new device in development at the John Hopkins University aims to give patients peace of mind by allowing them to administer STD tests using their cellphone.

The new device, temporarily known as “mobiLab,” can test a sample swabbed from a user for chlamydia. Once the user runs the swab through the mobiLab, they should receive the results directly to their cellphone within 30 minutes. Researchers say they are also developing tests for other diseases, such as tests for gonorrhea and HIV. Current versions of the device cost about $200 each to make.

The goal of the device is to make STD testing more widespread, and give patients the option to test themselves at their own home. While the mobiLab can perform the test, it is unable to write you a prescription. This means that patients will still have to see a doctor if the test comes out positive.

Until the technology is released to the public, you can get cheap, anonymous STD testing at one of your local urgent care centers. There are approximately 6,800 urgent care centers in the U.S., most of which are freestanding buildings. Almost two-third of these centers employ a mix of doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, and 65% of centers have at least one doctor on duty at all times. About 57% of urgent care patients wait 15 minutes or less, and 80% of visits last 60 minutes or less. An urgent care center will be able to see you right away, and leave you feeling confident and secure about your test results.