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article imageThink you've got an STD? There's an app for that

By Ken Wightman     Nov 11, 2010 in Health
Your smart phone may be getting even smarter; It may soon have an app making it "your mobile doctor," according to Dr. Tariq Sadiq, a senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at St George's, University of London.
The app is teamed with a small computer chip that connects to a smart phone or personal computer via a USB port. Put a little urine or saliva on the chip and within minutes it determines "whether you've got one of a range of STIs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea and tells you where to go next to get treatment," says the leader of the project, Dr. Sadiq.
According to The Guardian, 4 million pounds ($6.4 million Canadian) have been invested by seven supporters of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration to develop a smartphone app and the associated USB chip.
STIs, sexually transmitted infections, are also known as STDs, sexually transmitted diseases. But whatever you call them, they're serious. STIs are on the increase in Great Britain and in many other parts of the world as well. An estimated nineteen million new STIs occur in the United States each year.
Many who exhibit symptoms, such as an itch or a discharge, find going to a clinic a major embarrassment. Self-testing removes this barrier. As many as 75 percent of women with chlamydia infections show no obvious signs of infection, and possibly an even greater percentage of men are asymptomatic. This quick and easy testing method, conducted at home by sexually active teens and others at risk of infection, may uncover cases which would have gone undiagnosed in the past.
Untreated, chlamydia can have serious repercussions such as an ectopic pregnancy or infertility. Syphilis, left untreated, can damage the heart, result in blindness, or cause other neurological problems, even death, according to the warnings of many public health departments.
Will the coolest pick-up line among smart smart phone users be: "Tinkle on my phone and I'll follow you anywhere. If you pass the test."
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