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iPhone app helps find nearest STD clinics

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:38 am

Ramin Bastani has been called the safest man to have sex with in America — he has been tested for diseases more than 50 times in the last two years — and a new mobile application he developed might be able to give others this title, too.

Hula, a free iPhone application, derives its name from Hawaiian hula dancers because Bastani said he is looking to help people get “lei’d” the safe way. Hula account holders know where the nearest sexually transmitted disease testing center is, the results of a test and even when to get checked next, according to a news release.

Bastani said he hopes Hula will encourage safe sex, potentially reversing trends that might be impacting the sexual habits of college students.

About 50 percent of sexually active college students use condoms, according to a recently released report by Trojan and the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada.

U.S. statistics on STDs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Bastani said the app allows users to obtain records quicker and without having to get the dreaded, “If you don’t hear from us in two weeks, no news is good news,” statement from a medical health practitioner.

Currently, 75 percent of clinics are able to send test results through the application, he said.

Although the UF Student Health Center does not send results through the app, Catherine Seemann, communications coordinator for the SHCC, said about 60 students a week go into the SHCC for routine STD screening.

In addition to providing information to stay on top of STD testing, Hula also allows you to share your STD test results with potential partners. When someone creates an account on Hula, he or she has the option to display his or her real name and most recent STD test results on an internal profile page, Bastani said.

Samantha Evans, a specialist at UF’s GatorWell Health Promotion Services, said although the application could be helpful for locating local test centers, she’s wary about sharing results — something she said should be done in person.

“Those things are better done in person, and very often (news of) some, like HIV, have to be given in person by law,” she wrote in an email.

Chris Pereira, a 20-year-old public relations senior, said he thinks college students would use this app.

“In this day and age, people use their cellphones for everything,” he said. “So why not check their health?”

A version of this story ran on page 8 on 11/19/2013 under the headline "iPhone app helps find nearest STD clinics"

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