your health

New App Aims to Stamp Out STD Stigma, Make Testing ‘Suck Less’

Founder Ramin Bastani's squeaky clean profile. (Photo: Hula)

Sexually transmitted diseases are not new. And yet, their diagnosis and treatment has gone undisrupted by the tech industry.

But a new app is seeking not only to bring tech and STDs into the same sentence, but to tear down the stigma associated with discussing one’s sexual health. The app is called Hula, and founder and CEO Ramin Bastani hopes that through word of mouth and partnerships with dating websites and public health organizations, it will encourage people to have honest conversations when it comes to sex, and improve their health, too.

“The status quo is if you and I meet and you ask me if I’ve been tested, the instant response is, ‘Of course I have,’ and I’m offended,” he said.

And that awkward conversation is nothing compared to finding a clinic, walking in and enduring the medical procedure––that is, if the clinic even accepts you. In his research, Mr. Bastani found health centers that flat out denied him, or carried exorbitant surprise fees. It makes a difficult process even harder.

“We want to bring transparency to the STD testing world,” Mr. Bastani said in a phone interview with Betabeat. “We want to make STD testing suck less.” Read More

Love in the Time of Algorithms

Sex By Southwest: We Hung Out with Bangs With Friends

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“I got my first match!” one of the cofounders of Bang With Friends told Betabeat earlier this week as we scarfed down free grilled cheese on the curb outside the Austin Convention Center. Around us, hordes of lanyard-wearing South by Southwest attendees swarmed by, eyes firmly fixed on their smartphones.

Unfortunately, the match–facilitated on the since-banned Bangs with SXSW specialty site–wasn’t a lust connection. “It happened at 3 or 4 am, so I was already too far gone at that point.” Read More