I never thought I would hear news saying that putting a liquid on your cell phone could be a good thing, especially something that could improve your health. I have insurance on my current cell phone because I am a very clumsy person, and might have once accidentally dropped a previous phone into a beverage. Long story short, that phone died a very sudden death (despite trying leaving it in a container of rice for a day). So, when I read several articles all talking about how technology should soon allow people to use their phone to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), I’m a little hesitant. I mean, pee? On your phone?
Let me back up and explain a little about what these articles are saying (here, here, and here). The plan for this technology is to soon be able to use cell phones and computers to diagnose STIs. You would not actually put your urine or saliva on the phone (or computer), but on a computer chip that you would then plug into the phone or computer. After you have plugged in the chip, you would get results quickly (one article claims within minutes), as well as advice on where to go for treatment if the tester is positive for any STIs.
Some scientists in the UK believe that this technology isn’t in the far off future, while other scientists in Australia is a bit more hesitant about when these chips and programs would be available (see articles linked to above). The hope is for these chips to be available almost anywhere, but especially in bars, night clubs, and pharmacies. I like to imagine them in bathroom vending machines, next to condoms. The current plan is that the chips would sell for around $1 or $2 each, which is pretty cheap, especially compared to getting tested in a clinic or doctor’s office (especially when you add in any travel expenses and waiting time).
I also think that this is a huge leap, and has the potential to be extremely beneficial. I understand why people are either hesitant to get tested (embarrassment, money issues, intimated by doctors, fear, etc) or don’t know the importance of getting regularly tested if you are sexually active. This chip would make getting tested inexpensive and much more private – as well as super quick! Imagine hanging out with someone who you would really like to have sex with. The conversation slides into how many partners, and if either person has or has had any STIs. Unfortunately, you have not been tested recently – but, have no fear! You have a chip and can discretely sneak away to a restroom and get results. While I can’t stress the importance of condoms (especially used properly!) enough, it’s important to get tested even if you use protection every time that you engage in sex as they’re not 100%. What do you think about these chips? Would you try them?