Would you really pee on your cell phone to see if you had an STI!?


Just came across a very interesting article (with some of the best comments I’ve seen in a long time) on MSNBC’s technolog:

Got a funny feeling in your nether-region but too embarrassed to ask your doctor what it might be? If a group of British researchers have their way, your mobile phone will soon be able to tell you if you’ve got an STD.

So scientists in England are developing kits – kind of like home pregnancy tests – that you buy for a couple of bucks at the grocery store or in a vending machine at your favorite bar.  You just put a little saliva or urine on this computer chip, plug it into your phone (or computer) and voila’ – within a few minutes it’ll tell you if you have an STI, which one, and what you need for treatment.   

Who knows if and when this technology will become a reality, but it’s exciting because it addresses a very important issue in young people.  STI’s can be a serious threat to your health, but many students are too afraid/embarrassed/busy/broke to come in and get checked out.  

We are trying to tackle the same issue here at the Student Health Center.  We now offer “OIY” (Order It Yourself) lab testing.  You can get tested for STI’s and certain other medical conditions without having to make an appointment or even talk to a health care provider.  I admit it’s not quite as convenient (or cheap) as the “Dr. Who Hump Drive” but at least we actually exist and the results are monitored by a real live doctor.

Of course, if you think you may have a sexually transmitted infection (or any other medical problem), the safest thing to do is to come in and see us.  We know it’s a little embarassing, but believe me, we do this every day – there’s nothing we haven’t seen before and we don’t have a judgmental bone in our building.  We can answer all of your questions, check for other problems, diagnose and treat you all at once.  And so far, there ain’t an app for that…

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University