Gay social app MISTER and a new testing app called Hula have become partners to encourage men to be tested for HIV. It started with a network- wide blast showing local testing centers and encouraging MISTER users to learn their HIV status. Both companies are working on a longer term agreement that would work to better educate mobile app users about HIV transmission.
There are already more than 10 website or phone apps that help provide people that receive STD positive test results the ability to anonymously inform past sexual partners that they may be at risk. Don’t Spread It, inSPOT and So They Can Know, are just three that send anonymous exposure notifications to partners of infected individuals. Some health experts say this is only a part of what needs to be done in the discussion on how to stop the spread of STD’s and HIV. What Hula offers is a way for a sex partner to verify their most recent HIV test results before an encounter and the possiblity of exposure.
MISTER says the decision to partner with the mobile app Hula, which helps users find the best local HIV testing centers was made after a recent report by the Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training showed that a large percentage of men using MISTER, and other similar mobile apps, have never been tested for HIV.
“We’re in a position to help educate the community, and we should use it,” said Carl Sandler, CEO of MISTER. “The gay mobile app has become one of the primary ways gay men, particularly younger gay men, connect with one another. We need to do all we can to make sure that they are making informed choices about their partners and their health.”
Reports say that as many as 1 in 10 men using a mobile app to meet other men had never had an HIV test. Of those who had never tested, one third said they told their partners that they were HIV negative. A third of those who had never been tested admitted to having sex without a condom.
The Hula app not only provides users with the location of local testing centers, but it also empowers users to securely display verified information about their last testing date and the results.
“We’re excited that MISTER asked us to partner with them on this important project,” said Ramin Bastani, founder and CEO of Hula. “This gives us the chance to reach a large swatch of the millions of gay men active on mobile apps and help them make more informed decisions about their partners.”
From inception, the MISTER app has focused on becoming the “grown-up” social app for gay men says its CEO. They stress respect, integrity and safety. HIV education has long been part of MISTER’s mission. Carl Sandler will speak on the connection between mobile networking and HIV at the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok this November.
Hula was formerly know as Qpid.me and makes STD testing easier. The iPhone app and website empowers people to find the best STD test centers, get their results online and confidentially share their verified status by unzipping their profile for partners. Hula users have strict control over their personal health information and profile. Sharing is completely optional. Users cannot upload their own STD results – they must come directly from the health care provider.
Utilizing smart design and technology, Hula believes it will dramatically reduce STDs through its different approach to prevention. The company’s mission is to help people make better health decisions by giving them high quality information at their fingertips. To find out about it visit www.twitter.com/gethula.