After a brief hiatus, I’m back with this week’s Notable Org. I was first approached by this company to do a little awareness piece, but after researching them a bit, I decided to feature Chec-Mate™ instead as a Notable Org. Why? Simply put, I love new uses of technology to forward sexual health. And since apps for mobile phones are awesome in their own respect (I mean, who doesn’t love the ability to do pretty much whatever they want/need from their very own phone app?!), medically-related apps are even more awesome to me. Sexual health is such a private and personal thing, why not bring the technology to the people, so to speak?
I love the idea of being able to discuss personal matters through a fairly impersonal manner; I think it kind of demystifies and de-clinicalizes sexual health (I seriously doubt clinicalize is a word, but I’m an innovator, so let’s roll with it). Talking about your STD history can be a very uncomfortable discussion, not only because you have to admit your sexual past, but you’re probably feeling open to judgment and shame. I think it should be on the same level as talking about what you had for breakfast, but alas, we live in a sex-negative world that shuns open communication and dialogue. So Chec-Mate™ decided to step in and help that conversation move forward. From their website:
What is Chec-Mate™?
Chec-Mate™ is the world’s first and only mobile application that allows you to instantly and confidentially share your verified STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) screening history. The Chec-Mate™ mobile application verifies its user’s screening results via the user’s personal Username and a confidential User ID that is set once your application is activated.
Chec-Mate™ is a new standard of sexual responsibility and can be defined as any individuals right to know and share their personal Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) information with whom they please without the prior consent of a 3rd party.
This app works by allowing you to have your personal STD testing verified to ensure that 1) you actually got tested like you said you did, and 2) that the results are what you said the results are. IT BY NO MEANS CAN GUARANTEE THAT YOU DON’T HAVE AN STD; that all depends on how often you are sexually active, how often you’re unprotected, and how often you get tested. They simply provide a way to ensure that if your partner says they were tested and were negative 2 months ago, you can be assured through Chec-Mate™ that it’s all true. You download the app ($1.99 fee for year-long membership), print out the verification form you get in your confirmation email, and take it with you when you get tested.
Even better with this app is that they provide a locator to find the nearest testing site that you can take the form to get verified. That cuts down a ton of work for you! So after finding out all this great stuff about Chec-Mate™, I decided to pose a few questions to the creators to get their take on sexual responsibility, their views on the future, and how people can really use Chec-Mate™ realistically in their personal lives.
HSY: I love this app! Such a great idea! It really drives home the point that technology can be used wisely for health. On your site, you talk about how the app is used for sexual responsibility. What exactly does sexual responsibility mean to you?
Thank you for the support, we are excited that advancements in technology particularly Smartphones have been able to provide us with an opportunity to provide our services in a way we believe will be way more convenient for our users and adaptable to their personal lifestyles. Sexual responsibility to us simply means that an individual has personally acknowledged the risk factors associated with engaging in any sexual activity and has made a personal commitment to take the appropriate precautions for the sexual lifestyle they are living.
HSY: How do you see Chec-Mate™ changing the landscape of consumer-driven medical technology?
Chec-Mate™ is raising the bar by setting an entirely new standard of personal sexual health; at the core of Chec-Mate™ there is the theory that individuals will personally make a conscious decision to live an overall healthier lifestyle provided they have access to the proper tools needed to do so. We feel the Chec-Mate™ theory will be the foundation for many of the consumer driven medical related technologies we will see developed in the future.
HSY: How do you think technology like this will affect sexual health education and communication?
We believe Chec-Mate™ will have a major influence on future of sexual health, education and communication. Providing individuals with a safe and secure platform to exchange such vital information could certainly become the gateway to a new standard of communication between sexually active individuals. We believe that this type of open communication between partners alone is a step in the right direction by promoting personal awareness and the importance of making an informed decision.
HSY: Realistically, some people who have tested positive for STDs probably will not want to use this app to share their status. What would you say to those people?
We completely understand that the Chec-Mate™ application won’t be for everyone, but regardless of anyone’s STD screening status our message of sexual responsibility and awareness remains the same. We want users and non-users of Chec-Mate™ to understand that Chec-Mate™ is more than just a mobile application to share STD information, it is the idea of living an overall healthier lifestyle by increasing one’s personal awareness and making informed decisions about those whom they choose to become intimate with.
I LOVE that they use the words “sexual responsibility” on their website. Because we do have a responsibility, whether we want to admit it or not, that goes beyond the sexual encounter. Sex can have lasting effects, physically and emotionally, and if we’re not careful, if we’re not responsible both for our actions and others’ reactions, we’re playing with fire (and fire here can absolutely mean a burning sensation down below).