Whether you're in a long-term relationship or satisfied with the occasional (or not-so-occasional) one night stand, sooner or later that do-you-have-an-STD conversation is going to come up.
Just ask Ramin Bastani. After breaking up with his long-term girlfriend, he went to an LA bar, hooked up with a woman and took her back to his place. But before going all the way, Bastani hesitated, which made the woman ask if he had an STD. "No I'm just afraid that you might," he replied.
With that said, the woman quickly slapped him and walked out. From that point on, Bastani was determined to find a better way to find out if someone was HIV/STD free.
And he did -- by creating Qpid.me. "I don't think there's anything I could do in my life that's more impactful," Bastani said.
The three-year-old website, which has been getting a lot of recent attention and even nominated for a Shorty Award -- lets users 13 and older electronically request their HIV/STD status from their doctor or clinic. According to HIPAA Privacy Rules, medical providers must send the records back to the website within the next 30 days. Then users have the option to store that verified, non-self-reported information electronically and/or share it with their sex partner(s) via text message and email alerts with a one-time-use link.
Bastani, who's been tested 40-50 times, thinks that the "no news is good news" mentality has been ingrained in the minds of hundreds of healthcare providers. "I know the process of telling someone their STD status is hard."
But when STDs start costing the U.S. health care system $15.9 million annually, according to Healthy People.gov, it's time to speak up and know where you stand.
So he seeks to solve this problem by empowering people to access their health records in an easy, quick, and convenient fashion. This way people will feel confident about their sexuality enough to open up and take the first step in having that awkward conversation. "In no way is this a silver bullet to solve this issue. It's just the tip of the iceberg," Bastani said.
The site's new locator, which will launch in Florida in two weeks, also helps users find the best places to get tested, including options for LGBT clinics, clinics serving teens, college clinics, etc.
Qpid.me expects to partner with multiple undisclosed e-dating sites in the next six months. The Qpid.me widget will notify other users that a certain person's HIV/STD results have been verified through the site. A time stamp of when the user was last tested will also appear on the e-dating sites as part of the user's profile. "This will be an incentive to get tested more," Bastani said.
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As the 12-month-period approaches, the site reminds users to get tested again. Qpid.me also warns its users that a person may have had sex since they were last tested.
For those of you who are worried about privacy issues, Bastani says the site "allows you to share your information how you choose." Just like many social networking sites, Qpid.me users can choose to keep their profiles open to the public or private.