As Ramin Bastani made his way to the bedroom with the woman from the bar, he paused. He had recently been tested for sexually transmitted infections, but didn’t know if she had been.
When he told her he was worried she might be infected, she slapped him. It wasn’t the outcome he was hoping for, but the incident sparked the idea for Healthvana, an iPhone app and website that helps users find nearby testing locations for sexually transmitted infections. Users can then share their results with prospective partners to eliminate the often awkward conversation surrounding sexual health between strangers.
The app, previously known as Hula, also enables health providers to send test results to clients, and breaks down complicated lab reports with information about the different tests, diseases, and follow-up care.
“We provide people with health information at their fingertips,” Bastani said. “I thought, there’s got to be a better way to have this conversation.”
The app educates users on what to do if they test positive for an infection, and sends reminders when they need to return for testing. The app is compliant with patient privacy laws in all 50 states.
Bastani expects the app to have 100,000 users by the end of the year, and said he plans to announce a partnership in the coming weeks with an HIV/AIDS organization. Healthvana is working with several Boston health providers to provide patients with test results instantly.
The app’s original name sparked a change.org petition requesting it be changed because “Hula” was culturally insensitive to Native Hawaiians. Bastani initially resisted, but in May, after a continued public outcry, agreed to rename it.Yasmeen Abutaleb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @yabutaleb7.