June 27th is HIV Testing Day. Learn More About an App Helping Young People Get Tested.
H.I.V is a frightening but highly treatable diagnosis. But finding out you have it at an advanced stage can bring on a whole different set of issues, which is why public health officials advocate for HIV and STI testing at younger and younger ages. Being diagnosed at a later stage can lead to a greater risk in AIDS and death, especially tragic when the patient is a teenager.
10,000 people ages 13 to 24 are given H.I.V. diagnoses every year in the United States, and epidemiologists estimate that nearly half of all young people who have H.I.V are unaware of it. Thankfully, a new APP is poised to help give young people access to the testing that can result in early diagnosis and hopefully halt the spread of this dreaded virus.
Healthvana is a free iPhone app that harnesses GPS technology to locate nearby H.I.V. testing facilities. Most public health departments and community health clinics offer free H.I.V. testing to people of all ages, often without parental notification. The problem is, many kids don’t have access to these free resources, nor do they know where to look. Apps like Healthvana put HIV and STI testing just a “right swipe” away.
According to Healthvana executives, the app has delivered the results of over 200,000 H.I.V. and sexually transmitted infection tests to patients at participating health care providers across the country. The confidential service also gives users information on how to access treatment in the vent of a positive diagnosis. Another plus? Some young people post negative H.I.V. and STI testing results on social media, encouraging peers to get tested.
Healthvana isn’t the only app seeking to connect youth to H.I.V. testing. The United States Department of Health and Human Services also has a locator app that helps user find testing services and helpful resources. There’s even an app the connects young people with sources for free condoms.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of an app that promotes HIV and STI testing is that it affords the user a greater measure of privacy; the app can be deleted after use, another feature that may encourage more teens to actually download and use it.