Forget pacing frenetically in the waiting room as you await the results of an STD test. A new app from Planned Parenthood will deliver an at-home kit to your doorstep, allowing you to avoid any uncomfortable, in-person interactions with your doctor—or anyone in earshot, for that matter.
After downloading the $149 Planned Parenthood Direct app, a test kit and step-by-step testing instructions will be sent to your home address in what the non-profit describes as "discreet" packaging. You'll submit a sample—in other words, you still have to pee in a cup—to Planned Parenthood's labs, which will deliver your test results to your phone. As of now, the test only screens for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
According to Planned Parenthood, the app uses the same STD tests its health centers administer—you just get to take them and await your results in the privacy of your own home, with no one else the wiser. Should you test positive, your results will also include instructions on how to obtain treatment, such as antibiotics. And if you have questions, you can reach out to doctors through the app, who will respond in kind.
The next best thing to an in-person visit, the app was designed for "people who may not have the time to visit a local health center and for those who may feel more comfortable with the privacy that a mail-in STD test provides," says Heather Saunders Estes, CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern California.
The new Planned Parenthood Direct is a complement to another app the non-profit launched last year, Planned Parenthood Care. The latter app allows users in Minnesota and Washington to consult via video conference with center doctors, then receive birth control prescriptions—or STD tests, if necessary—through the mail.
Planned Parenthood Direct is only available to California residents for now, but the non-profit has plans to expand if the app's launch is successful.
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