STDs are exploding at epidemic levels in industrialized nations around the world. The US is among them. These diseases are at exceptionally high levels. Cuts to local and state programs, an uptick in intravenous drug use, changing sexual mores, the rise of dating apps, and a relaxed attitude toward infections—now that HIV is manageable, have created a perfect storm, making this new paradigm possible. One suggestion is to use internet or app-based STD testing. It offers a lot of advantages. Those who feel stigmatized could get tested more discreetly, for instance. It may also help those who are busy and refuse to take a day or afternoon off to get tested and instead, do so on their own time. Some experts are calling it the way all medical testing will be done in the future. But such tests in today’s world leave us with a lot of questions.
There are many start-ups out there looking to elbow their way into the market. But there are no guarantees. Right now, there are two different business models for such testing, the subscription-based model and the one-time testing model. But a recent NPR investigation found that not all of these companies were timely in replying to tests or even customer inquiries. One problem is that there is little FDA regulation in this sphere as it stands today. Legislation and regulation has to catch up with this small but growing market. The CDC so far supports online STD testing with the caveat that the buyer should beware and do their homework, before typing in their credit card number. Also consider what you should be tested for and what you don’t have to worry about. These can vary depending on one’s lifestyle, sexual orientation, and more. Your best bet if you want full coverage, is to see a doctor or urologist annually and get tested.